Sept. 19, 2006
DeKalb, Ill. - It was a volleyball match of momentum, and IPFW caught it at the right time, as the visiting Mastodons earned the 26-30, 30-23, 21-30, 30-20, 15-13 non-conference victory over Northern Illinois at Victor E. Court on Tuesday (September 19) night, despite a career-high tying 33 kills from Huskie senior middle blocker Kate McCullagh (Woodstock, Ill.).
McCullagh led four Huskies in double-figures, followed by 11 kills from sophomore middle blocker Katie Walsh (St. Charles, Ill.) and ten kills apiece from junior outside hitter Amy Ward (Sycamore, Ill.) and sophomore outside hitter Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill.).
With the victory, IPFW improves to 9-8 on the season, while the Huskies fall to 7-5 overall.
IPFW junior outside hitter Cynara Martins topped four Mastodons in double-figure kills with 17, followed by 13 from sophomore middle hitter Jessica Miller and ten kills apiece from senior middle hitter Claire Jackson and freshman middle hitter Rebekah Roehm.
IPFW enjoyed a sizeable advantage at the net on Tuesday night, as the Mastodons recorded 13.5 blocks to the Huskies six.
With the match tied at two games apiece, NIU jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the rubber match, behind three kills from McCullagh and a putaway from Johnson.
The Mastodons, however, scored eight of the next 10 points, behind kills from Miller, Jackson, senior outside hitter Amanda Pfister and sophomore setter Jessica Dominiak (51 assists), giving IPFW the 10-7 advantage.
NIU would not go away, as they reeled off three straight points to even the score at 10 behind kills from McCullagh, Ward and a hitting error from Martins.
IPFW quickly answered with a 3-0 run of their own behind kills from Martins and Jackson, including a hitting error from McCullagh to take a 13-10 lead over the Huskies.
The Huskies inched closer, scoring three out of the next four points, to narrow the IPFW lead to 14-13. The Mastodons, however, ended all hope with a Miller kill to end the contest.
"We just didn't handle the ball the way we needed to," NIU Head Coach Ray Gooden said. "That was the biggest thing. I think our ball control was good at times and wasn't as good when we needed it the most."
NIU senior libero Gina Guide (Orland Park, Ill.) tallied 32 digs on the evening, while sophomore setter Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill.) added a double-double of 59 assists and 13 digs.
Gooden was pleased with McCullagh's performance, but is still looking for more balance from his squad.
"It was great for Kate to come in and score those points, but we just need to find production for other people and for Kate to continue on a pretty strong clip," Gooden said. "Don't get me wrong, it's a great night still, but we still wanted to get a little more balance than that."
NIU opens Mid-American Conference play on Friday night, as the Huskies travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., for a showdown with Eastern Michigan at 6 p.m. (CST).