Aug. 29, 2006
Normal, Ill. - When a volleyball team's serve/receive is off, it is often difficult for that squad to run their offense effectively.
Such was the case for the Northern Illinois volleyball team on Tuesday night, as the host Illinois State Redbirds recorded 15 service aces on their way to the 30-22, 30-24, 28-30, 30-26 non-conference win at Redbird Arena.
"We just didn't pass tonight," NIU head coach Ray Gooden said. "We were flat, real flat. They jumped all over us on the serve, we didn't adjust, and we got served off the court.
"They served the ball well, but we didn't put ourselves in good enough position to make positive plays on the serve/receive," Gooden continued. "It really frazzled us and we just couldn't recover."
With the victory, ISU improves to 1-3 on the campaign, while the Huskies fall back to .500 on the season at 2-2.
Illinois State sophomore middle blocker Mary Catherine Richmond topped the Redbirds with a double-double of 14 kills and 19 digs, including five total blocks (2 solo). Fellow middle blocker Kari Staehlin added 11 kills and five total blocks (1 solo) in the victory.
The Redbirds were also solid at the net, as ISU notched 11 total team blocks (3 solo) to the Huskies' one.
It wasn't an entirely disappointing night for NIU, as senior libero Gina Guide (Orland Park, Ill.) set a pair of school-records with 36 digs, which was good for the single-match standard, along with the most digs for a four-game match. Both of these records were previously held by Guide's former teammate Megan Sprangers, who notched 35 `ups' in a four-game win over Akron on October 15, 2004.
NIU senior middle blocker Kate McCullagh (Woodstock, Ill.) led the Huskies with 15 kills, followed by nine putaways from junior outside hitter Amy Ward (Sycamore, Ill.). NIU setter Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill.) collected her third double-double of the season with 38 assists and a career-high 23 digs.
NIU will be back in action on Friday (September 1), as the Huskies travel to Columbus, Ohio, to participate in the Buckeye Invitational, hosted by Ohio State. The Huskies will open with the Iona Gaels at 11:30 a.m. (CST), followed by the Lehigh Mountain Hawks at 4 p.m.