Nov. 14, 2008
NIU 3, Toledo 1 Final Box
Toledo, Ohio - The Northern Illinois volleyball team defeated Toledo, 25-16, 17-25, 25-23, 25-14, on Friday evening to earn a first round Mid-American Conference Tournament home match on Tuesday, November 18 at 6 p.m. CST. With the win, the Huskies improve to 16-13, 8-7 in conference play, while the Rockets drop to 13-15, 5-10.
"I know that a lot of teams are playing for positions in the MAC Tournament right now," said Gooden. "It was nice for our team to focus and beat a tough Toledo team on the road."
The Huskies outhit the Rockets .294 to .223 in the match and registered 61 kills, while holding UT to 47 as four Huskies totaled double-figures in kills for the third time this season. Freshman Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) led the way with 20, junior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) had 14, senior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg) had 12 and junior Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) finished with 10 along with six blocks.
"We know that at this point in the season, we need a total team effort," Gooden said. "We are happy to have the balance that we did along with solid play defensively."
NIU came out strong in the first set behind Allison McGlaughlin's (Morton, Ill./Morton) season-single-set-high nine kills, which helped the Huskies establish a 10-4. A few plays later, McGlaughlin notched another kill to give the Huskies a 16-5 advantage and then she finished the set by scoring NIU's last two points on a pair of putaways. The Huskies hit .484 and recorded three blocks, while holding Toledo to a .133 attack percentage and one block.
"Everything we touched in the first set was gold," Gooden said. "We served well and won rallies. We played at a high level."
In the second set, Toledo turned the tide on the Huskies by hitting .464 and tallying four blocks, while limiting NIU to .207 and no blocks. NIU held a couple early leads and the teams went back and forth before the Rockets went on a 10-1 run to open up a 23-14 lead. From there, Toledo was able to close out the Huskies behind Shannon Strachan's five kills and three blocks in the set.
NIU held the advantage for most of the third set and with a 10-9 lead, the Huskies went on a 8-2 run behind three kills from senior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg). Toledo, however, countered with a 9-4 run to pull within two points, 22-20, after a kill from Strachan. But Strachan's serve on the next play went short, giving NIU a 23-20 lead. Yates then set up set point for the Huskies with a kill, but a pair of NIU errors and a kill by Kassie Kadera brought the Rockets within a point, 24-23. On NIU's fourth set point, another kill from Yates finally ended the swing set in NIU's favor. The Huskies outkilled the Rockets 17 to 11, getting five kills apiece from Johnson, McGlaughlin and Yates.
"We put ourselves in a positive spot and it was nice for our team to hang on because it's a much better situation to go into the fourth set up 2-1 rather than down 2-1," said Gooden.
In the fourth set, the Huskies again held the lead for a majority of the set and had a 12-8 lead after a Toledo error. NIU then ran off six of the next eight points to go up, 18-10, and the Huskies were able to ride the run, finishing the match after a kill from Johnson. NIU hit .355 and held UT to .111 in the final set and had four kills each from McGlaughlin and junior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview).
Junior Amanda Tadla (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn) notched her third double-double of the season with a career-high 53 assists along with 10 digs.
"Amanda did a good job of running the offense tonight," Gooden said. "She made plays tonight that were critical for us to be successful."
Sophomore Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) led the NIU defense with 15 digs.
The Huskies finish their regular season tomorrow with a match against Ball State (11-18, 6-8) at 6 p.m. CST in Muncie, Ind.