Oct. 19, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team came up only a few points short in extending their five match winning streak as the Huskies were unable to defeat Kent State, losing 26-30, 30-28, 30-19, 25-30, 13-15. The Golden Flashes improve to 16-6, 7-2 in Mid-American Conference play while NIU drops to 11-12, 5-4.
Kent State took a 1-0 advantage after taking game one 30-26. Anne Zakelj registered eight kills to help the Golden Flashes. Huskie senior Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill. / Immaculate Heart of Mary / DePaul) nearly notched a double-double with 14 assists and 9 digs in game one.
The Huskies responded strongly in the next two games to take a 2-1 lead in the match. In game two, sophomore Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio / Northview) led NIU with five kills and Caputo totaled 15 assists to help NIU take the game 30-28. In game three, Schoenrock and junior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill. / Schaumburg) each added seven kills while Caputo added 16 assists and 12 digs to give the Huskies the 30-19 win.
NIU couldn't finish off KSU in game four though as the Golden Flashes used 10 kills from Anja Knabe-Paulsen to win the game 30-25 and knot the match 2-2.
After Kent State rallied to a 14-8 lead in game five, a Huskie 5-0 run that included two kills from Schoenrock brought the Huskies within one point. However, the late NIU rally was not enough as a kill by KSU's Ashley Feutz gave the Golden Flashes the game and match.
"Kent State got a little run there in game five to go up 8-5 at the switch and that gave them a little comfort zone," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "In game five, who knows? Anything can happen. They just got a good run at that time and that helped carry them at the end."
Caputo led the way for the Huskies with career-highs in assists (70) and digs (34).
"I thought Mandi did a good job leading tonight," Gooden said. "She gave her heart and put it all out there. Unfortunately, we didn't get the results that she deserved. On the whole, it was one of her best matches since she has been here. She was finding people to score, communicating and playing defense."
Two other Huskies also established new career highs. Schoenrock totaled a personal best 28 kills and sophomore Monica Lang (Chicago, Ill. / Marist) tallied a career best 24 digs to help NIU on defense.
Along with Schoenrock, three other Huskies totaled double-digit kills. Johnson added 20 kills with 16 digs, Baetzel notched 17 kills and sophomore Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind. / LaPorte) tied a career-high with 10 kills. Defensively, freshman Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill. / North) registered 18 digs.
"Overall, we played a solid match and did a lot of things to put Kent State under pressure," Gooden said. "In the fifth game, there comes a time when you need that play or you need to stop that run and unfortunately, their run ended up being two points more than our run at the end. We came back and made a run, but it was too little, too late. We played a good match. It was two good teams playing a good MAC volleyball match. We just came up a little short."
The Golden Flashes were led by Feutz's 28 kills and Knabe-Paulsen's 20 kills and 10 digs. Jenny Keck helped KSU on both sides of the ball with 54 assists and 23 digs. Defensively, Laura Jensen registered a team-high 34 digs.
The Huskies return to Victor E. Court on Saturday, October 20 to face the Ohio Bobcats at 7 p.m.