Oct. 18, 2008
NIU 3, Akron 0 Final Box
DeKalb, Ill. - For the tenth time this season, the Northern Illinois volleyball team won at home in three sets, defeating Akron in a hard fought match, 25-21, 27-25, 26-24, on Saturday night at Victor E. Court. The Huskies are now 10-2 at home and 13-9, 5-3 in the Mid-American Conference, while the Zips fall to 7-12, 1-7.
"It was great for us to end homecoming on such a positive note," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "The group played consistent volleyball all weekend."
After taking the first set, 25-21, the Huskies were looking to go up 2-0 in the match as the held a 19-15 lead after senior Katie Walsh (St. Charles, Ill./North) put away an Akron overpass. However, the Zips came back with an 8-3 run to take a one-point advantage, 23-22. Akron then pushed NIU to set-point after a kill from Liz Martin, but Kara Smith's serve error kept the Huskies alive. The Zips received another opportunity to take the set after Brionna Patterson notched a kill, but the Huskies were able to stay alive again after a kill from junior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview). After a block from Schoenrock and Walsh, NIU was then able to convert its first set-point after Patterson came up empty on a swing.
"It was nice for our team not to be even going in to set three," Gooden said. "We were able to ride it out and take advantage of the opportunity that we had to win the second set."
Up 24-22 in the third set, the Huskies failed to put the Zips away as Courtney Jarvis tallied a kill to pull Akron within one, and then a block from Smith and Tina Dimitrijevs tied the score, 24-24. NIU then retaliated by scoring the final two points on kills from senior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg) and Schoenrock.
"We had the opportunity to finish it, but it was still good for our team to fight until the end and pull of the overtime win," said Gooden. "."
Three Huskies reached double-figures in kills as Schoenrock led the way with 15 for her 24th consecutive match with 10 or more kills. Johnson registered 11 kills and a .379 attack percentage and freshman Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) had 12 along with 10 digs for her second double-double of the season. Freshman Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) registered 40 assists and seven digs.
"It was nice to have solid offensive performances from Meagan, Allison and Irene," Gooden said. "I also thought Kristin tossed a really good match."
The NIU defense recorded eight blocks to Akron's four with Walsh tallying a team-high three. Sophomore Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) had a team-best 13 digs.
"We've been stressing the ability to be physical at the net, especially with blocks," said Gooden. "It was nice to outblock a physical Akron team tonight."
The Huskies return to action next weekend with a Friday match against Ohio (13-6, 6-2) and a Saturday contest with Kent State (13-8, 3-5).