DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois women's volleyball team was dealt its first loss of the 2011 season as No. 18 Iowa State claimed a 3-1 win Saturday afternoon at Victor E. Court. The Cyclones (3-0) racked up a 67-49 kills advantage and a 75-59 digs discrepancy to deny the Huskies (2-1) of an upset.
NIU began the match with an impressive first set. Despite ISU holding advantages in kills and digs, the Huskies hit .371 and capitalized on 10 Cyclone errors to win 25-21. However, the Huskies were unable to muster enough steady firepower to grab another set.
"I thought our team came out with a lot of energy and put a lot of pressure on Iowa State," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "I give credit to the Cyclones. They played really well. It's great to have a team like that at our tournament. It teaches us that in order to be one of the top teams in the country, we have to be consistent for a long period of time."
With the score tied 13-13 in the second set, ISU used a 12-4 run to win 25-17 as six Huskie miscues helped tie the match before the break.
In the third set, ISU broke a 5-5 tie with 8-4 spurt to take a 13-9 lead behind four more NIU errors. After a Huskie timeout, the Cyclones scored on another NIU error and received a kill from Jamie Straube to give ISU a six-point cushion that was enough to cruise to a 25-18 win.
NIU came out strong in the fourth set by grabbing a 10-6 lead after an ISU setting error by Kristen Hahn. But consecutive kills by ISU's Carly Jenson during a 5-1 run helped the Cyclones tie the score 11-11. From there, the teams battled back and forth until an ISU combo block by Straube and Taylor Knuth and a Lauren Wicinski attack error gave the Cyclones a 20-18 lead. Following an NIU timeout, Mary Kurisch emphatically bounced a ball to bring the Huskies within one point, but NIU would only score twice more as ISU closed the match out 25-21 on another Jenson.
Three Huskies reached double figures in digs, led by Wicinski's 15. Kurisch and Allison McGlaughlin each added 10. Freshman MacKenzie Roddy was impressive in her first appearance as she totaled four kills on nine swings with no errors. Kristin Hoffman notched 46 assists and a kill while running the offense.
"We had good output from our pin hitters again," Gooden said. "MacKenzie Roddy came in and played really well."
Defensively, McGlaughlin led NIU with 14 digs, while Wicinski had 13 for her third straight double-double to begin the season.
The Huskies return to the court tonight at 7 p.m. CT to take on No. 14 Northern Iowa (2-0). The match will have live stats available on NIUHuskies.com via GameTracker and will have a live video stream through Huskie All-Access.