Sept. 23, 2008
NIU 3, DePaul 1 Final Box
Chicago - The Northern Illinois volleyball team tallied three players with 10 or more kills to defeat DePaul, 23-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-23. NIU improves to 8-6, while the Blue Demons fall to 1-11 as the Huskies won their last match before Mid-American Conference play begins.
"For us, it's real nice to play a Big East team before we get ready to start the MAC because every match in the MAC will be as tough as it was tonight," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden.
After dropping a tough first set, the Huskies used early leads to take the next two sets. In the second set, NIU jumped out to a 12-8 lead that led to a 25-20 win. In the third set, the Huskies opened up a 15-8 advantage en route to a 25-16 win.
"We were doing a lot of things that we are accustomed to doing," Gooden said. "We were winning points in transition and passing the ball to sideout. Give credit to DePaul, they really pressured us a lot tonight. Fortunately, we were able to maintain our composure to win the match."
The Huskies were playing from behind for most of the fourth set, losing 16-12 at one point, but back-to-back kills from junior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) narrowed the deficit, 16-15. NIU kept it close and finally tied the score, 20-20, after an ace from senior Maria Benitez (Lincoln, Ill./Lincoln). Then with the score knotted, 23-23, freshman Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) putdown a kill and junior Monica Lang (Chicago, Ill./Marist) served up an ace to give NIU the match.
"In all honesty, Allison scored a big point to put us up one," Gooden said. "Monica's sub shouldn't have happened because we ran out of subs after that, but she came in and had a great serve to win the match."
The Huskies were led by Schoenrock, who ranks second in the nation in kills per set. She tallied 22 kills and hit .327, marking the third time this year that she has recorded 20 or more kills. She has also had double-figure kills in all 14 of NIU's matches.
The NIU offense also received help from McGlaughlin and senior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg), who totaled 14 and 10 kills each to help NIU as a team hit .348.
"We had another solid performance from Meagan tonight, which was nice," Gooden said. "We had nice balance tonight with those three, but also our middles did a really good job of making positive plays as well."
Freshman Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) netted her first career double-double with 49 assists and 12 digs along with four kills.
"I was excited to see Kristin get her first win as our setter," said Gooden. "We know that she is very capable of doing great things for us and nice to get the result."
The Huskie defense was led by sophomore Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) and Benitez, who registered 14 and 11 digs.
Northern Illinois plays its MAC opener Thursday at 6 p.m. CST against Western Michigan (9-2) in Kalamazoo, Mich.