Sept. 1, 2009
PEORIA, Ill. - For the fourth time in its first five matches, the Northern Illinois volleyball team faced an Illinois opponent and came out on top for its third victory versus an instate school this season, defeating Bradley, 25-20, 25-20, 25-13, on Tuesday night at the Markin Center.
"We never intentionally planned to have us facing this many Illinois schools like this, but we have been successful, and that's a very positive thing for us," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden, who improved to 25-14 against intrastate teams. "It's nice for us to have a positive result on our first road trip of the season."
The Huskies (4-1), who are now 11-3 all-time against Bradley (3-2), were in command for nearly the entire match, trailing briefly only three times. After cruising through the first set without trailing, the Huskies tackled their largest deficit of the night in the second set, 10-6, by getting a kill by Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte), back-to-back kills by Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton), a joust kill by Amanda Tadla (Oaklawn, Ill./Oaklawn), and another kill by McGlaughlin to give NIU an 11-10 lead.
The teams then exchanged points until NIU broke a 13-13 tie with help from a service error by Bradley's Skylar Lesan and kills from Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) and Mary Kurisch (LaCrosse, Wis./West Salem). From there, the Huskies were able to ride the run to win the set and carried the momentum into the third set to help open an insurmountable 13-6 lead after another kill by McGlaughlin.
"That sequence showed that we could battle back and not panic," Gooden said. "We were able to turn a few points and get the momentum back."
For the fifth match this season, the Huskies out-killed their opponent, 54-33, and out-hit the Braves .393 to .210. Yates led NIU with a career-high tying 18 kills, along with a .600 attack percentage and three blocks. McGlaughlin tallied her second double-double of the season with 14 kills and 11 digs to go with a .480 attack percentage. Tadla ran the offense efficiently with 45 assists and Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) led the defense with 14 digs.
"I'm pretty confident in saying that Cassie played her most complete volleyball match since she has been here at NIU," Gooden said. "Not only did she attack well, she also had positives in different phases, like serving and blocking."
The Huskies travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn. this weekend to play in Middle Tennessee State's Blue Raider Bash. NIU will face Northern Iowa on Friday at 2 p.m. CT and on Saturday, the Huskies will take on MTSU at 2 p.m. and Georgia Tech at 7 p.m.