Nov. 11, 2006
DeKalb, Ill. - Northern Illinois senior middle blocker Kate McCullagh (Woodstock, Ill.) posted a match-high 16 kills, including her school record-breaking 1,908th career kill, as the Huskies cruised to the 30-23, 30-22, 30-21, Mid-American Conference victory over Buffalo on `Senior Day' at Victor E. Court on Saturday night.
"Kate has worked really hard to become the player that she is today," NIU head coach Ray Gooden said. "It's a testament to her hard work to see how she has developed over the years."
McCullagh, who finished with a hitting percentage of .387 (16 kills, 4 errors, 31 attacks), broke the previous record of 1,907 set by former teammate Tera Lobdell (2001-04).
"I've had good people around me," McCullagh said. "When I came in here, I wasn't real good, but Ray has made me the player that I am today and I have to thank him for it."
With the victory, NIU improves to 20-8 overall and 13-3 in MAC play, while the visiting Bulls drop to 14-19 on the campaign and 3-13 in conference action .
Joining in on the offensive fun were outside hitters Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio) and Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill.). Schoenrock, a freshman, collected 12 putaways, while Johnson chipped in 10 kills in the victory.
McCullagh and fellow senior Gina Guide (Orland Park, Ill.) mark Gooden's first recruited class at Northern Illinois and both will leave with NIU career school-records in both kills and digs. Gooden's squad rewarded their seniors in style with a three-game victory over the Bulls.
"It was a great team effort especially with Kate and Gina on their senior night," Gooden said. "Gina did a great job on defense and Kate does what she does on offense."
Huskie sophomore setter Mandi Caputo
(Chicago, Ill.) topped NIU with 44 assists and added a season-high seven service aces. NIU finished with 14 aces on the evening.
Buffalo outside hitter Nikki Morzenti topped the Bulls with 11 kills, while fellow senior Jenna Mape added 10 kills in the loss .
NIU is back in action on Friday, November 17th, as they travel to Toledo for the MAC Quarterfinals, where they will face the winner of Tuesday's first-round contest between the No .7 seed and No. 10 seed.