Oct. 20, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team was not able to stun #20 Ohio as the Huskies lose to the Bobcats 21-30, 16-30, 30-28, 18-30. With the win, Ohio improves to 17-4, 9-1 in Mid-American Conference competition and NIU falls to 11-13, 5-5.
The Bobcats struck early in both games one and two, taking the lead 17-7 in each game. The deficits were too much to overcome for the Huskies as Ohio took game one 30-21 and game two 30-16 behind Melissa Griffin's 16 kills.
"We had a pretty good idea of what Ohio was going to be doing offensively, but we just struggled with their speed," said Huskie head coach Ray Gooden.
In game three, NIU jumped out to an early 10-4 lead. Ohio then proceeded to chip away at the lead, eventually taking a 21-19 advantage after kills by Meghan Simons and Melissa Szkutnik. The Huskies were quick to respond as they went on a 6-2 run to take a 25-23 after a kill by senior Laura Baetzel (Chicago, Ill. / Burbank Queen of Peace) and a block by junior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill. / Schaumburg) and sophomore Jessica Schultz (Beaver Dam, Wis. / Beaver Dam / Kishwaukee C.C.). NIU was then able to ride the run to a 30-28 win.
"When our team wants to put their mind to it, they can do it," said Gooden. "Unfortunately, Ohio just did what they do. They put pressure on us and were very physical."
Similar to the first two games, Ohio got off to a fast start in game four with a 13-4 lead. Once again, Ohio's lead was too much for NIU to comeback from and the Bobcats ended the match, winning 30-18.
For the Huskies, Baetzel totaled a team-high 13 kills and Schultz tallied 10 while hitting a season-high .381. Senior Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill. / Immaculate Heart of Mary / DePaul) added 46 assists and freshman Maddie Hughes (St. Charles / North) tallied 13 digs for NIU.
"It's great that Jessica is getting some positive numbers for us when she is attacking the ball," said Gooden. "She continues to improve. She is progressing along well, especially with this begin her first year at this level."
Griffin registered 26 kills to lead the way for the Bobcats. Ellen Herman added 20 kills and Stephanie Blackburn totaled 15 kills along with 18 digs to help Ohio. Michelle Jantsch notched a team-high 39 assists.
The Huskies are back in action on Thursday, October 25 at 7 p.m. when NIU takes on Western Michigan at Victor E. Court.