Nov. 5, 2009
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team fell to Western Michigan in four sets on Thursday night at University Arena in a Mid-American Conference match despite the fact that the Huskies (13-13, 7-6 MAC) out-killed the Broncos (19-9, 11-2 MAC) 64-56 and out-hit them .233 to .208.
"I thought we came out with a lot of fire and energy and really put them under pressure in the first set," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "Unfortunately, we just couldn't make plays at the end. They are a very good team."
NIU jumped out to a fast start by claiming a 25-16 win in the first set, as the Huskies scored the first six points of the match and never looked back in the initial stanza.
In the second set, Western Michigan got off to a quick start, opening a 6-1 lead after a Huskie attack error. NIU would later tie it, 7-7, and remained close throughout the entire set, but the Broncos were still able to finish the set. With the score in favor of WMU, 20-19, the Broncos ran off four straight points to help them hold off a late surge by NIU and even the match after a 25-22 win.
In the pivotal swing set, the Huskies once again had a nice start, as they scored the first four points and held that lead until WMU went on a furious run with NIU ahead, 22-18. Ashley Turnage started the run with a kill and Jessica Brown followed with a kill of her own. Then back-to-back attack errors by NIU senior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) and sophomore Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) knotted the game and forced NIU to take a timeout.
"Throughout the match we did a good job of not relying on any one person to make plays," Gooden said. "We did not do a good job of doing that in sets three and four, which isn't our way of being successful against a really good team."
After the break, Schoenrock put the Huskies up 23-22 with a kill, but WMU's Katie Eberling matched with two straight kills. Then Allyson Doyle notched an ace on the next play to give the Broncos the 25-23 win, and a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The Huskies then recovered from a 12-6 deficit in the fourth set to tie the score, 18-18, after a Bronco serve error, but could not get over the hump, as WMU ended the set, 25-20, on a 7-2 run.
Sophomore Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) led NIU with 52 assists, 15 digs, six kills and an ace. Schoenrock totaled a team-high 20 kills and McGlaughlin had 17, along with 20 digs.
On defense, junior Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) led the Huskies with 29 digs, while freshman Sue Hayes (Evergreen Park, Ill./Mother McAuley) had 11.
"I thought Maddie did a really good job of playing defense tonight," added Gooden.
The Huskies return to action on Saturday with a 2 p.m. (CDT) match on the road against Bowling Green. Live stats can be followed on bgsufalcons.com.