Nov. 7, 2009
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - After taking a 2-0 advantage in the match with all of the momentum in its favor, the Northern Illinois volleyball team could not close out Bowling Green, as the Falcons rallied to win the final three sets to defeat the Huskies on Saturday evening at Anderson Arena in a Mid-American Conference contest.
In the fifth set, Bowling Green (11-18, 4-10 MAC) held an 8-5 lead at the turn after a block by Allison Kearney and Shari Luther, and backed it up with another block on the next sequence by Luther and Kaitlin Jackson. BGSU then got a kill from Luther and an ace by Corey Domek to go up 11-5. After an NIU timeout, Domek notched another ace, and kept the momentum in the Falcons' favor to help close out the match, 15-7.
"I really felt that we could have made a run if we just made one or two positive plays in that fifth set," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "They made better adjustments than we did."
The Huskies (13-14, 7-7 MAC) took the first set by breaking a 21-21 tie following an NIU timeout, and finishing strong. A bad set by Kearney gave NIU the lead again and then senior Monica Lang (Chicago, Ill./Marist) tallied an ace on the next play to force Bowling Green to take a timeout. But the Falcons failed to regroup as Emily Kauth's attack error gave NIU a chance for set-point. However, Kauth's swing on the next sequence found the ground for a point. Huskie sophomore Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) then followed with a kill to end it, 25-22.
NIU continued its strong finish into the second set by scoring the first five points, and later opened up a 15-3 lead after a McGlaughlin kill forced BGSU to take a timeout. Even after the timeout, NIU didn't slow down, as McGlaughlin and senior Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) notched back-to-back kills before the Falcons got on the board again. With a 17-4 lead, the Huskies were then able to ride the momentum to a 25-5 win to go up 2-0 in the match.
"In the second set, we played our most dominant set of the year," Gooden said. "I hoped that we weren't going to take our foot off the gas."
Then the momentum took a complete 180-degree turn after the break.
"They just got momentum and played more confidently," said Gooden of the sudden turn of the table. "We became them, like they were in the first two sets."
In the third set, the Huskies got off to a slow start and had to call a timeout, trailing 6-3 after a kill by Noelle Spitler. Yates started the Huskies off with a kill out of the timeout, but still struggled to get it going, as they had to use another timeout following a kill by Domek that gave the Falcons a 15-10 lead. NIU senior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) responded with a kill, and then an attack error by Spitler brought the Huskies closer, 15-12. After a kill by Domek, Alex Zlabis' serve error and an attack error by Domek forced the Falcons to take a timeout, leading 16-14. BGSU then regrouped to end the set, 25-21.
The Huskies started slow again in the fourth set and had to burn a timeout, trailing 12-6 after an attack error by McGlaughlin. However, BGSU did not slow down and extended the lead to 17-7 following a kill by Jackson. The Falcons then finished the set, 25-13, to force the decisive fifth set.
Schoenrock led NIU with 15 kills, and had four blocks. McGlaughlin also reached double-digits with 11 kills, while sophomore Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) tallied 44 assists and 12 digs for her fourth double-double of the season, and second in a row.
On defense, freshman Sue Hayes (Evergreen Park, Ill./Mother McAuley) led the team with a season-high 17 digs. Junior Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) reach double-figures as well with 14 digs.
NIU wraps up the regular season on the road next weekend with a 6 p.m. (CDT) match against Eastern Michigan on Friday and a 6 p.m. match versus Central Michigan on Saturday.