Sept. 28, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball put together a late charge, but couldn't sustain it, losing their Mid-American Conference home opener to Central Michigan, 30-28, 30-26, 30-32, 30-26.
The Huskies (6-11, 0-3) had early leads in both game one and game two, but the NIU leads were short-lived as each time CMU (12-3, 3-0) was able to rally back quickly, taking both games, 30-28, 30-26.
In game three, the Huskies jumped out to a 16-10 lead behind two kills each from freshman Dani D'Ambrose (Addison, Ill. / Addison Tail), sophomore Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio / Northview) and junior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill. / Schaumburg). However, three kills from CMU's Kate Fissel during a Chippewa 9-3 run tied the game at 19-19. The lead exchanged hands several times before NIU was finally able to capitalize its second game-point when Fissel's attack error gave the Huskies the game, 32-30.
NIU started out with an early lead again in game four, 14-10, getting three kills each from D'Ambrose, Schoenrock and Johnson. The Huskies maintained their lead, 21-17, until the Chippewas mounted a 13-5 run that included six blocks to end the game and match, 30-26.
"We had a chance to win every game, but we are just not finishing," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "We just didn't take care of the ball the way we needed to. We understood that they were a good blocking team and a good serving team. We knew we would have to work hard together to handle their serves. We have to learn from it. Everyone is doing some pretty good things in the MAC, we just need to finish the job."
The Huskies were led by Johnson's 19 kills. Schoenrock and D'Ambrose also added 16 and 13 kills each. Senior Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill. / Immaculate Heart of Mary / DePaul) registered 56 assists. Defensively, junior Jody Hardwick (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Crystal Lake South / St. Louis) totaled 14 digs and freshman Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill. / North) added 12.
Fissel led the Chippewas with 23 kills and four service aces. Lauren Krupsky notched 17 kills to help the CMU offense. Sarah Warner posted a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs. Alexis Lonneman led the Chippewas with 11 digs and Kaitlyn Hurt notched 4 of CMU's 17 blocks.
The Huskies return to action tomorrow, Saturday September 29 at 7 p.m., to face Eastern Michigan in Victor E. Court. All youths in eighth grade or younger get in for only $1.00 and will be able to get autographs from the Huskie players after the match.