Nov. 15, 2008
NIU 3, BSU 1 Final Box
Muncie, Ind. - The Northern Illinois volleyball team ended its regular season with a 25-22, 25-27, 25-20, 25-18 win over Ball State (11-20, 6-10) on Saturday night at John E. Worthen Arena as senior Irene Johnson and freshman Allison McGlaughlin totaled 13 kills apiece to lead the Huskies (17-13, 9-7) to victory.
"It was great for us to finish the regular season out strong with winning our last two on the road," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden of the win, despite being outblocked 10 to four and outscored 68 to 57. "Sometimes it's important to score points and the right time and we did that tonight.
"Irene had a really solid performance on both sides of the ball on the right side for us tonight," Gooden said. "She did a really good job of scoring points."
After trailing by a small margin for most of the opening set, the Huskies knotted the score 18-18 after kills from junior Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) and junior Amanda Tadla (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn). NIU tied it again at 22-22 after a net violation on Brittany McGinnis and then a pair Cardinal attack errors set up set point for the Huskies, which was scored by junior Meagan Schoenrock (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview) on the next rally. Senior Irene Johnson led NIU with four kills in the set.
NIU started the second set off with a 10-4 lead and held the advantage until a late 11-4 run by the Cardinals tied the game 21-21. With the score tied at 23-23, Julie Breivogel's kill gave BSU a chance for set point, but her swing on the next play was too long. Breivogel notched another kill, but freshman Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) tied the score 25-25 with a putaway. Jennifer Boyd tipped down a kill to give BSU its third try at set point and finally the Cardinals converted with Breivogel's seventh kill of the set. Johnson recorded four more kills as did both Schoenrock and McGlaughlin.
"It wasn't our most focused set," Gooden said. "They took advantage of some things and we didn't do a good job of adjusting."
In the swing set, the Huskies opened up with an 11-6 edge, but a 7-3 run by BSU narrowed the deficit to one point. NIU kept its narrow margin and led 22-20 after a Boyd kill kept the Cardinals close. However, Yates tallied a kill and then a pair of attack errors by Alisha Green gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead in the match. Johnson again led the way with four kills for the third straight set.
"It was nice for us to bounce back after the second set," said Gooden.
With the fourth set tied at 9-9, the Huskies went on an 11-3 run behind a pair of kills from Yates and McGlaughlin and NIU was able to ride the momentum to end the match. McGlaughlin registered a team-high four kills to help the Huskies take their final regular season match of the year.
"The combination of us winning rallies and making critical plays along with a few of their errors helped us take that fourth set," said Gooden.
Schoenrock reached double figures with 10 kills and has done so in all but one of NIU's 30 matches this season. Sophomore Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) notched a team-best 19 digs for the Huskie defense.
The Huskies will start the first round of the MAC Tournament at home on Tuesday, November 18 at 6 p.m. CST.