Sept. 2, 2011
Final Box: NIU 3, CU 0
OMAHA, Neb. - Behind a stellar defensive performance, the Northern Illinois women's volleyball team swept Creighton 3-0 at the Bluejay Invitational Friday night at D.J. Sokol Arena. The Huskies (4-2) outhit the Bluejays (1-4) .316 to .230 and held a 54-46 digs advantage in the 25-19, 25-21, 25-21 win.
"We did a really good job of having control on our side of the court," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "That led to keeping us in-system. We didn't win the blocking category but had a lot of touches to score points in transition. That was a real positive as well."
Tied 9-9 in the first set, Kristin Hoffman, Mary Kurisch and reigning Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week Lauren Wicinski tallied consecutive kills to force a Creighton timeout. After CU closed within one point, Wicinski ran off three straight kills and Allison McGlaughlin served up an ace to open a 20-15 lead en route to taking a 1-0 lead in the match.
Following a tightly contested early portion of the second set, the Huskies broke a 20-20 knot with a MacKenzie Roddy kill and Bluejay attack error. Then, out of a CU timeout, Wicinski's ace gave NIU a three-point cushion that Creighton was not able to overcome.
"That serve out of the timeout was huge," Gooden said. "Both passers went away from each other. Lauren put it in a great spot. That was a critical point in the match that put us over the top."
The Huskies opened a commanding 11-4 lead early in the third set thanks to five CU attack errors and a pair of kills from Sarah Angelos. The Bluejays closed within two points, 15-13, but that was all the closer they would get as kills by Wicinski and Roddy kept momentum on NIU's side to close out its third sweep of the season.
Offensively, the Huskies were led by Wicinski and McGlaughlin, who each had a double-double. Wicinski racked up a team-high 19 kills along with 13 digs, while McGlaughlin dug up a team-high 14 balls and had 11 kills. Both hit over .300 as well. Wicinski has now notched a double-double in all but one of NIU's six matches. Amber Walker also chipped in double figure digs with 11, adding two aces.
"It's great that our pins our playing complete volleyball games right now," said Gooden. "They are attacking well, playing in the back row well and getting solid touches on the block. It's nice to see them perform at a high level right now."
Additionally, Hoffman managed the offense to the tune of 41 assists. The senior setter was also 2-for-5 on swings.
The Huskies continue the Bluejay Invitational tomorrow with a 10:00 a.m. CT contest against Marquette and 5:30 p.m. tilt with South Dakota. Live stats and video will be available on GoCreighton.com.