Oct. 16, 2009
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team earned its first Mid-American Conference road win of the season as the Huskies defeated Buffalo, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, to even their record to 10-10, 4-3 in league play Friday night at Alumni Arena.
"We knew the Buffalo of old was no more," NIU head coach Ray Gooden said. "They were very physical at the net and did a really good job on defense. It was nice for our team to accept the challenge of competing on a consistent level."
The key sequence in the match for NIU came in the first set as the Huskies led for most of the way until they saw a 21-18 lead turn into a 23-21 Buffalo (12-8, 3-4 MAC) advantage after a kill from Kelsey Lueders. NIU fired right back with a kill by sophomore Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) and an ace by freshman Sue Hayes (Evergreen Park, Ill./Mother McAuley) to knot the score. After an attack error by the Bulls' Lauren Fensten, McGlaughlin ended the set with another kill to give the Huskies momentum and confidence heading into the second set.
"We are still learning how to finish," Gooden said. "Even though there were two momentum swings late in the set, it was great to see Allison do what outsides are supposed to do ¬-- which is win games."
Even though NIU lost the second set, the Huskies' confidence remained high as they came out after the break and claimed an early 14-9 lead in the third set following a kill from senior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview). From there, NIU was able to keep scoring to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
In the fourth set, NIU kept the pressure on Buffalo by taking a 6-0 lead after an overpass kill by Schoenrock. With all of the momentum on their side, the Huskies were able to keep pace and end the match.
"It was great for us to establish the tempo of the third and fourth sets," he said.
Schoenrock led the Huskies with 25 kills and hit .377, while McGlaughlin tallied 18 kills and 17 digs for her 10th double-double. Sophomore Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) also notched a double-double with 47 assists and a career-best 16 digs. Additionally, freshman Mary Kurisch (LaCrosse, Wis./West Salem) totaled a season-high five blocks.
"Meagan was matched up against one of the best blockers in the league," Gooden said. "She did a really nice job of playing smart and experienced volleyball. I also thought Mary did a really nice job of blocking at the net."
On defense, NIU was led by junior Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North), who had 24 digs. Additionally, Hayes had a season-high 14 digs.
The Huskies return to action to take on Akron on the road tomorrow at 6 p.m. (CDT).