Sept. 29, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - After losing the first game, the Northern Illinois volleyball team rallied to win the final three games to post their first Mid-American Conference win over Eastern Michigan, 28-30, 31-29, 30-22, 30-16.
Much like last night's match against Central Michigan, the Huskies had early leads over EMU in every game, but tonight, NIU was able to finish in all but game one.
"The girls adjusted their mind-set at that point and we were able to win some critical points to take us over the top," said Northern Illinois head coach Ray Gooden.
In game two, the Huskies wasted no time in getting out to a 12-5 lead behind five kills from sophomore Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio / Northview). NIU maintained the lead until a late Eagle 7-2 charge tied the game at 29-29. But the Huskies were able to prevail after an EMU attack error and a Schoenrock kill to win, 31-29.
NIU jumped out to an even larger lead in game three, 14-5, getting three kills from Schoenrock and two kills each from freshman Dani D'Ambrose (Addison, Ill. / Addison Trail) and sophomore Jessica Schultz (Beaver Dam, Wis. / Beaver Dam / Kishwaukee C.C.). This time though, the Huskies wouldn't let EMU mount any charges and NIU was able to take the game, 30-22.
With a 13-10 lead in game four, the Huskies put together a monstrous 17-6 run to finish off the Eagles, 30-16. The run included seven EMU attack errors and two kills each from Schoenrock and Schultz.
"I give our team so much credit," Gooden said. "With the way things have been, it would be easy to give up and not fight. Tonight, they came out with such energy and it was awesome to see."
Another factor that helped the Huskies get past the Eagles was the energy of Victor E. Court. The fans and the Huskie Band were loud all night, giving NIU the edge.
"The crowd was so energized tonight," Gooden said. "Everybody came in prepared. We were prepared, the crowd was awesome and the band was incredible. The mood was right. It had that great feeling."
As a team, the Huskies totaled a season-high 115 digs. Junior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill. / Schaumburg) tallied a career-high 27 digs along with 15 kills and freshman Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill. / North) tied her season-high in digs with 29. Junior Jody Hardwick (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Crystal Lake South / St. Louis) added 22 digs and sophomore Monica Lang (Chicago, Ill. / Marist) registered 10. D'Ambrose also added 10 digs to go with 21 kills.
Leading the way offensively for NIU was Schoenrock, who had 22 kills. The Huskies also received a season-high 11 kills from Schultz. Senior Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill. / Immaculate Heart of Mary / DePaul) posted 63 assists to help set-up the NIU hitters.
The Eagles were led by Abby Reenders, who notched 22 kills and 23 digs. Kate Sulewski registered 52 assists for the Eagles and Becky Reenders tallied 22 digs.
The Huskies' next match is against Toledo on Friday, October 5 at 6 p.m. in Toledo, Ohio.