Nov. 2, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team could not continue their road success against Eastern Michigan as the Huskies fell 31-29, 28-30, 30-24, 30-26. NIU is now 11-16, 5-8 in Mid-American Conference competition as the Eagles advance to 18-10, 8-5.
The teams went back and forth in game one before EMU grabbed a 29-27 lead after a kill by Victoria Randolph and a Huskie error. The Huskies then knotted the score at 29-29 following a kill from senior Laura Baetzel (Chicago, Ill. / Burbank Queen of Peace) and a block by sophomore Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio / Northview). But a pair of NIU attack errors ended the game in the Eagles' favor, 31-29.
"We need to find a way to close out games against good teams like Eastern Michigan," said Huskie head coach Ray Gooden.
In game two, the Huskies stayed on top for most of the game, surrendering the lead only a few times, but each time NIU was able to quickly grab it back. With the score in favor of the Huskies 29-26, EMU's Abby Reenders tallied back-to-back kills to pull within one point 29-28, but Baetzel ended the threat with a kill to give NIU the game, 30-28.
With the score tied at 7-7 in game three, EMU jumped out to a 17-10 lead after a 10-3 run. The Huskies were unable to recover from the run as the Eagles took the game 30-24.
Game four was similar to game three for the Huskies as EMU jumped out to a 17-11 lead. NIU was able to get within one point of the Eagles on several occasions, but each time the Eagles were able to keep the lead, including when a kill by junior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill. / Schaumburg) cut the EMU lead to 26-25. The Eagles then went on a 4-1 run to end the game and match 30-26.
"We had a chance to take some of those games tonight, but we just couldn't do it," said Gooden. "We dug ourselves a hole in game three that we couldn't get out of. We were able to pull out game two, but we just got caught in a couple negative runs and that seemed to do it for us tonight."
The Huskies totaled three players with double-digit kills and four players with 10-plus digs. Baetzel registered a team-high 19 kills, Johnson added 17 and sophomore Cassie Yates
(LaPorte, Ind. / LaPorte) notched 10.
Defensively, freshman Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill. / North) totaled 30 digs, which marks the second time this season that she has had 30 or more digs in a match. Johnson and sophomore Monica Lang (Chicago, Ill. / Marist) each totaled 18 digs and senior Mandi Caputo (Chicago, Ill. / Immaculate Heart of Mary / DePaul) tallied 12 digs along with a team-high 58 assists.
The Reenders sisters led the way for the Eagles. Abby added 19 kills and 16 digs, while Becky totaled 19 kills and 12 digs. Victoria Randolph totaled a team-high 23 digs along with 15 kills and Kate Sulewski led EMU with 68 assists to go with 10 digs.
The Huskies return to action tomorrow at 7 p.m. to take on Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant, Mich.