Oct. 10, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - Less than 24 hours after winning a close fifth set to get a win over Central Michigan, the Northern Illinois volleyball team went to another fifth set against Eastern Michigan on Saturday night at Victor E. Court, but the Huskies made it much easier on themselves by winning 15-4 to improve to 7-3 at home.
In the final set with NIU up 6-4, the Huskies (9-10, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) rallied behind the serving of freshman Sue Hayes (Evergreen Park, Ill./Mother McAuley) to finish off the Eagles (3-19, 2-4 MAC) as they committed nine attack errors to help NIU claim its third five-set win of the season, which the Huskies only did twice last year.
"Tonight's story was that when we controlled the ball, we did a good job," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "When we didn't control it, we struggled. In that fifth set, we got in a good spot with Sue serving and a solid front row, and we were able to generate a lot of points.
"It's nice for us to defend our home and for our team to be able to come out ahead in tough five-set battles. It's also nice to have different people step up every night."
The Huskies featured a balanced attack that out-killed (63-56), out-hit (.284-.170) and out-blocked (18-10) Eastern Michigan as four Huskies reached double-digit kills, led by senior Meagan Schoenrock's (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) 16. Senior Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) tallied 13 kills, five blocks and hit .480 and freshman Mary Kurisch (LaCrosse, Wis./West Salem) finished with 11 kills and a .320 attack percentage. Sophomore Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) totaled 15 kills and 18 digs for her ninth double-double this season, her fourth in the last five matches. Sophomore Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) captained the offense with 59 assists, six digs, three blocks and two aces. Additionally, freshman Kaitlyn Pascus (Palatine, Ill./Fremd) added a season-high seven kills on ten swings with no errors and three blocks.
"I thought our middles, Cassie, Mary, and Kaitlyn, did a great job tonight," Gooden said.
Junior Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) anchored the NIU defense with 30 digs, giving her two matches this season with 30 or more digs and eight with 20-plus digs.
"I also thought Maddie had a really good match too," added Gooden.
In the first set, NIU brought the energy early with a 25-15 win and kept it going for most of the second set. But with the Huskies up 20-12, the Eagles completely changed the momentum, ending the set, 25-23, on a 13-3 run. After the break, the Huskies regrouped to win the third set 25-17. In the fourth set, EMU held a steady lead for most of the set, leading 18-11 at one point, but narrowly escaped a Huskie rally to win 25-22 before NIU claimed the victory in the fifth frame.
NIU goes back to action next weekend with two more conference matches. On Friday, the Huskies will take on Buffalo at 6 p.m. (CDT) on the road. On Saturday, NIU will have a road contest with Akron at 6 p.m.