Oct. 25, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - In front of a Victor E. Court record 635 fans, the Northern Illinois volleyball team fell to Western Michigan 26-30, 32-30, 30-22, 30-25. The win for the Broncos improves their record to 17-8, 8-3 in Mid-American Conference competition while the Huskies drop to 11-14, 5-6.
NIU came out strong in game one behind an enthusiastic crowd, taking a 17-10 lead behind a pair of kills each from junior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill. / Schaumburg) and sophomore Jessica Schultz (Beaver Dam, Wis. / Beaver Dam / Kishwaukee C.C.) along with several Bronco attack errors. The Huskies were then able to convert their lead into a 30-26 win as Johnson totaled six kills and freshman Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill. / North) tallied 12 digs.
After trailing most of game two, a pair of kills by Huskie senior Laura Baetzel (Chicago, Ill. / Burbank Queen of Peace) knotted the game at 23-23. The teams then exchanged points until a kill by Schultz and a block by sophomore Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio / Northview) gave NIU a 28-26 advantage. Following an exchange of kills, WMU tied the game, 29-29, with a kill by Allyson Doyle and an NIU attack error. The teams once again exchanged kills before WMU's Katie Eberling put away back-to-back attacks, giving WMU the game, 32-30.
"Unfortunately, we just couldn't make that point in game two to get toward game-point," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "We couldn't find ways to score. We didn't attack the ball as smartly as we needed to."
In game three, the Broncos went on a 10-4 run with the score tied at 7-7 to take a 17-11 advantage. The WMU run was enough to propel the Broncos to a 30-22 win.
In game four, the Huskies quickly built a 5-0 lead behind kills from Schoenrock, Baetzel and sophomore Cassie Yates
(LaPorte, Ind. / LaPorte). However, the Huskies were unable to defend the lead as WMU went on a 7-2 run to knot the game at 7-7. From there, the teams went back and forth, leaving the game tied at 23-23 until WMU used another 7-2 run to end the game 30-25 and match.
"It's a matter of being able to last and be consistent," said Gooden. "We need people to go out there and make plays. We are just not getting that against the good teams right now."
NIU/ totaled four players with double-digit kills. Johnson and Schoenrock each registered 13 kills. Baetzel and Yates added 12 and 10 kills. Senior Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill. / Immaculate Heart of Mary / DePaul) notched a double-double with 45 assists and 25 digs. Defensively, Hughes led the Huskies with a season-high 31 digs. Junior Jody Hardwick (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Crystal Lake South / St. Louis) added 15 digs and Johnson added 10.
"Maddie did a great job digging the ball up as did Mandi," Gooden said. "We out dig teams and give ourselves chances to score, we just have to do it."
Michelle Moore's 25 kills led the way for WMU along with Sam Viox's 62 assists and 10 digs. Katie Eberling added 21 kills and 24 digs in the Bronco effort. Defensively, Caitlin Strimel tallied a team-high 26 digs.
The Huskies return to Victor E. Court on Saturday, October 27 at 7 p.m. to face Miami (Ohio).