Oct. 30, 2008
WMU 3, NIU 2 Final Box
DeKalb, Ill. - Up 8-3 in the fifth set, the Northern Illinois volleyball team couldn't edge first-place Mid-American Conference West Division foe Western Michigan (19-3, 10-1) as the Broncos rallied from behind with a 12-5 run to take the set and match, 15-13.
"Unfortunately, we've seen this story before and once our team realizes that we don't have to make the extraordinary play, just the positive one, it will take us over the hump," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "With the exception of the first set, if I were a spectator, I would have enjoyed the energy of both teams tonight."
After dropping the first set, 25-16, the Huskies (14-11, 6-5) responded in the second set with an early 10-6 lead after an ace from junior Amanda Tadla (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn). The Broncos came back to tie it at 17-17 after a block from Katie Eberling and Kate Corbett, but NIU once again pulled away after back-to-back kills from senior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg) and a kill from junior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio, Northview) gave the Huskies a 20-17 edge that they turned into a 25-23 win as freshman Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) ended the set with a kill.
"We know that Western plays at such a strong tempo and we didn't match up to that challenge in the first set, but regrouped and played a very strong second set," Gooden said.
NIU played from behind for most of the third set, trailing 19-15 at one point, but a kill from junior Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) and a kill and back-to-back blocks from Schoenrock pulled the Huskies within one, 20-19. Schoenrock then tied the game at 21-21 and 22-22 with a pair of kills to keep NIU alive. However, a kill from Eberling and a Huskie error gave WMU the first of four set points that NIU was able to avoid as McGlaughlin notched a block and three kills to nullify all four set points. Then, with the score knotted, 26-26, Schoenrock hammered one down to give the Huskies an opportunity for set point and one the next play, Michelle Moore's error gave NIU a 28-26 win to go up 2-1 in the match.
"We stayed steady and resilient in that third set to win the swing game," said Gooden.
In the fourth set, the Broncos held a slim one point lead for most of the set as the two teams battled with five ties after being knotted, 18-18, late in the set. After McGlaughlin's kill tied the score, 23-23, for the sixth time in the set, a pair of kills from Allyson Doyle gave WMU the set, 25-23, and tied the match at 2-2.
The Huskies came out strong in the fifth set and opened an 8-3 advantage at the turn, but a 6-3 run, capped by a Jillian Mitchell block, pulled the Broncos within two points, 11-9. McGlaughlin added a kill to put NIU up, 12-9, but WMU responded a 6-1 run to put away the Huskies, 15-13.
Schoenrock led the Huskies with a career-high 29 kills along with a .373 attack percentage and a season-high 4.5 blocks. McGlaughlin and Johnson each recorded double-double as McGlaughlin had 21 kills with 10 digs for her third double-double in a row and Johnson had 12 kills with a season-high 13 digs for her first double-double of the year. Tadla led the NIU offense with 52 assists and also added eight digs. On defense, sophomore Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) totaled 27 digs.
"Maddie is the one that really kept us in this match tonight," Gooden said.
The Huskies head to Oxford, Ohio to face Miami (14-9, 8-3) on Saturday at 4 p.m. CST.