DeKALB, Ill. - Coming off a solid season-opening win over IUPUI with a .319 hitting percentage earlier in the day, the Northern Illinois women's volleyball team did even better in a 3-0 sweep of Cincinnati Friday night at Victor E. Court. The Huskies (2-0) hit .458 as a team, marking the first time since Aug. 28th, 2009, that the team has hit over .440.
With 58 kills and 107 attempts and only nine errors, the Huskies were simply too accurate for the Bearcats (0-2) to handle. Cincinnati, who entered the day as one of just a few teams outside the AVCA Preseason Top 25 that received votes, managed a respectable .287 hitting percentage but only tallied 38 kills. NIU also outblocked UC five to one.
Leading the charge for NIU was Sarah Angelos, who hit a phenomenal .625, making no errors on 16 swings with 10 kills. Not far behind was Lauren Wicinski's career-best .550 attack percentage. Netting a team-high 25 kills, the Preseason All-MAC selection had just three errors on 40 attempts, and notched 10 digs for her second straight double-double. Mary Kurisch also hit well as she compiled a .455 hitting percentage with six kills on 11 swings and only one error. Additionally, Kurisch led NIU with three blocks.
Running the offense, Kristin Hoffman turned in 48 assists, five digs, two aces and two kills on four swings with no errors.
"It was a great night tonight," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "We had a great crowd and high energy and we were really excited for this match. It was a really good team effort. Lauren, Sarah and Mary did a tremendous job offensively and did a nice job of touching the ball on the block. All in all, it was a very good team match. It was fun to play here and defend our home court."
Out of the gate, NIU opened a 5-1 advantage with help from kills by Wicinski and Angelos and a combo block by the duo. The Huskies then never looked back in the set to claim a 25-19 win and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Trailing 8-5 in the second set, NIU rallied to grab an 11-9 lead after Angelos' third kill during the 6-1 spurt. The teams then went back and forth until a Meghan Romo putaway gave NIU set point at 24-22. After a kill from UC's Missy Harpenau and an error by Romo, a pair of Angelos kills sandwiched between a kill by UC's Megan Turner gave the Huskies a chance to take a 2-0 lead in the match. And that they did following an attack error by Emily Hayden, giving NIU the 27-25 win.
With the score tied 9-9 in the third set, NIU went on a 9-2 run to take a commanding lead that the Huskies would not relinquish. The run was fueled by four Bearcat errors and two kills by Allison McGlaughlin that helped the Huskies claim the match after a 25-18 victory.
The Huskies continue the annual NIU Invitational tomorrow with a 2 p.m. CT match against No. 18 Iowa State (1-0) and a 7 p.m. contest against No. 14 Northern Iowa (1-0). Both events will have live stats available via GameTracker on NIUHuskies.com and will have live streaming video through Huskie All-Access.