Sept. 22, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - With a 2-1 advantage in the match, the Northern Illinois volleyball team found itself down 24-23 in the fourth set to DePaul (6-8), just a match point away from going to a fifth set.
But the Huskies (6-7) negated the point with a kill from sophomore Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton). Then NIU got the ball in transition on the next play and this time McGlaughlin was unable to deliver as she just missed on a line shot. However, McGlaughlin didn't let the Huskies go to a fifth set as she notched another kill to avoid another set point and got help from a pair of freshmen to end the set, 27-25, as Kaitlyn Pascus (Palatine, Ill./Fremd) and Mary Kurisch (LaCrosse, Wis./West Salem) scored on a combo-block, and then Kurisch finished the match with a kill.
"The bad part about that ending sequence was that we had a couple chances to turn points, but the good part was that we still played the next point instead of dwelling on the last point," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "Kaitlyn and Mary had been coming real close to blocking that swing all night and they were able to make that play at the most critical time.
"It was nice to finish our non-conference season on a positive note with a win. I'm pretty confident in saying that this was Allison's best match from an attacking and rhythm standpoint. She put herself in good spots to swing for a majority of the evening."
McGlaughlin finished with her second straight double-double, fifth of the season, posting 11 digs and a career-high 26 kills with a .316 attack percentage, two blocks and an ace. She has now led NIU in kills in each of the last five matches.
Senior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) also reached double-digits in kills with 16, while senior Amanda Tadla (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn) totaled 51 assists and eight digs.
On the defensive side, NIU also had four players reach double-figures in digs as the Huskies tallied 79 digs compared to DePaul's 65. Junior Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) led the way with a season-high tying 26 digs, senior Monica Lang (Chicago, Ill./Marist) had 14, McGlaughlin added 11 and freshman Sue Hayes (Evergreen, Ill./Mother McAuley) notched a season-high 10.
"I thought the back row group did a great job tonight," Gooden said. "There is still room to grow, but they made some real nice plays to help us score points in transition."
After dropping the first set, 27-25, with a late 23-19 advantage, the Huskies recovered in the second set, finding a better rhythm as NIU broke an 11-11 tie with a 14-5 run to win it 25-16.
"I Give DePaul credit for making plays to defend us better at the end of the first set," Gooden said. "In the second set, we did a better job of executing the parts of the game plan that we were hoping to do."
NIU continued to use its momentum in the third set by opening a 10-5 lead. Even when the Blue Demons tied the score midway through the frame, 16-16, the Huskies responded quickly by opening up a three-point lead that they were able to ride to a 25-22 win.
"We played consistent volleyball and that really helped us," said Gooden. "We were able to make the plays necessary to pull out that third set."
The Huskies open up Mid-American Conference play this weekend on the road with a 6 p.m. CT match against Ball State on Friday and a 6 p.m. match versus Toledo on Saturday.