Oct. 9, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - With the match tied 2-2 and the score tied 11-11 in the fifth set, Northern Illinois took the lead over Central Michigan after a ball handling error by Stephanie Budde. Then NIU sophomore Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) delivered a kill on the next sequence and followed with an ace on the next play to put the Huskies up 14-11.
McGlaughlin then came up short on her serve, negating the first match point for NIU, but freshman Mary Kurisch (LaCrosse, Wis./West Salem) ended the match, 15-12, in transition with a kill on the following sequence to give the Huskies (8-10, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) their second conference win in a row on Friday night at Victor E. Court.
"A lot of people will remember Mary's kill that ended the match, but it really was Allison's serving and our team's ability to score when Allison was serving," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden.
"Every match in our conference is a dog fight," added Gooden. "There were momentum swings throughout the entire match. It was nice for us to play a solid fifth set."
Prior to the tie score in the final set, the Huskies led at the turn, 8-7, and then held an 11-9 lead before the Chippewas (10-5, 3-2 MAC) called a timeout that helped them regroup for two straight points before the costly error opened up NIU's winning opportunity.
Despite being out-killed (67-65), out-blocked (16-11), out-scored (82-74) and having 71 digs to CMU's 80, the Huskies still managed to win the game by scoring crucial points and committing fewer errors. The Chippewas ended up with 24 attack errors, while NIU had 21. CMU had 12 serve errors to NIU's 11. CMU also had two blocking errors to NIU's one, and had four ball handling errors, while the Huskies had two.
"It came down to the fifth set tonight," Gooden said. "There are times in this conference when the numbers don't tell the full story. The most important numbers tonight were 3-2 with the Huskies on top."
The NIU offense was led by senior Meagan Schoenrock's (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) season-high 27 kills and .316 attack percentage. McGlaughlin totaled 16 kills and 13 digs for her eighth double-double of the season, while Kurisch and senior Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) each had nine kills. Sophomore Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) ran the Huskie attack well with 57 assists, and had two aces.
"I thought Mary scored some really big points for us tonight, including the match-winner," Gooden said.
On defense, junior Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) led the way with 28 digs, which is the seventh time this season that she has eclipsed the 20-dig mark.
Central Michigan took the early lead in the match by winning the first set, 27-25, after avoiding one NIU match point and flipping it for the win. NIU bounced back and controlled the second set for a 25-22 win. The Huskies then had to go to match point twice to take a close third set, 27-25, before falling 25-20 in the fourth set that was dominated by the Chippewas, setting up the dramatic fifth-set victory for NIU.
The Huskies return to action again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. (CDT) to face Eastern Michigan in another conference match at Victor E. Court. Live stats will be available on GameTracker via niuhuskies.com.