Nov. 18, 2008
NIU 3, KSU 2 Final Box
DeKalb, Ill. - With the season on the line in the fifth set, the Northern Illinois volleyball team dug deep and broke a 10-10 tie as the Huskies (18-13, 9-7) rallied off a 5-1 run behind a pair of kills by freshman Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) to defeat Kent State (13-17, 3-13), 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11, in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Tuesday night at Victor E. Court.
"Jody Hardwick's serving was huge there," said Gooden. "She put us in a position to score points and we were able to take advantage of it.
"Kent State played loose and we knew that their offense was very dynamic. They were able to stay in system through chunks of the match. We put more pressure on them with our serve and won a couple critical rallies that helped us take the match."
Junior Meagan Schoenrock led the Huskies with 23 kills and a .308 attack percentage as she tallied eight kills in each of the third and fourth sets. McGlaughlin (13), junior Cassie Yates (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) (13) and senior Irene Johnson (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg) (12) each totaled double-digit kills to help NIU outkill the Golden Flashes 67 to 55. Despite being outblocked 14 to five, the Huskies are now 4-0 when they have four players reach 10 or more kills.
"The offensive group scored points for us when we really needed them," Gooden said. "Irene did it early, Meagan did it late, Cassie did it throughout and Allison did it late."
Kent State took a close first set as the Golden Flashes, with a 23-22 lead, earned set point after a kill from Katie Veatch and after a serve error by Jenny Keck, Tamy Laipelt's fourth kill of the set gave KSU a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Huskies responded in the second set with an early 10-3 lead, but Kent State stormed back to tie it 12-12 after a block from Lindsay Daniels and Maigan Larsen. NIU held a slim margin until another KSU block (Brianne Wille and Celia Sabo) tied the score 18-18. The Huskies then went on a 7-1 run to end the match behind Yates, who notched a pair of kills and had a block on the last play to tie the match 1-1.
KSU had a small lead for most of the third set before three of Schoenrock's eight kills, which she did on three consecutive swings, tied the score 18-18. Then with the score tied again at 22-22, a pair of kills by Daniels and a putaway by Laipelt gave the Golden Flashes the advantage in the match, 2-1.
Just like the second set, the Huskies countered to take the fourth set and tied the match, forcing a fifth set as NIU nearly led the entire way. The Huskies tallied the first four points of the set, but KSU tied it 14-14 after a block from Sabo. NIU then went on a 6-1 run behind two of Schoenrock's eight kills in the set and rode the momentum to take the set.
Junior Amanda Tadla led the NIU offense with 28 assists and freshman Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) added 23, while sophomore Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North) and McGlaughlin paced the defense with 27 and 17 digs, respectively.
"The setters did a really good job of running the offense tonight," Gooden said. "Most of the sets they had gave us a good chance to score.
"Maddie made some critical digs for us and anchored us on the defensive side of the ball tonight."
The Huskies travel to Toledo, Ohio to face Miami (Ohio) at 12:30 p.m. CST on Friday in the quarterfinals at the SeaGate Center.