VOLLEYBALL--- Northern Illinois University vs. University of Illinois-Chicago
/ at DeKalb, IL / Victor E. Court / non-conference match / Tuesday
/ September 7, 2004
NORTHERN ILLINOIS defeats ILLINOIS-CHICAGO 3-0 (30-12, 30-24, 30-23)
BOUNCES BACK IN BIG WAY, HITS PLUS-300, SWEEPS ILLINOIS-CHICAGO
30-12, 30-24, 30-23
DeKALB, IL - After three consecutive losses on its home floor and
with a heated instate rival coming to town, nobody was sure how
the Northern Illinois University women's volleyball team was going
to react Tuesday (Sept. 7). Consider any fears put to rest.
The Huskies dominated the University of Illinois-Chicago from start
to finish, handing the Flames a 3-0 (30-12, 30-24, 30-23) loss in
non-conference action at Victor E. Court. NIU improves to 2-3 with
the victory while UIC falls to 2-4.
"It could have been any number of variables that caused us
to come out strong tonight," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden
citing his team's .556 hitting percentage in game one. "This
is a local match, so a lot of the girls knew each other. We've played
them a lot before. We're coming off a few home losses. Whatever
it was, we came out motivated, and hopefully, we can continue that."
Motivated might be an understatement as the Huskies racked up 16
game one kills in 27 attempts with just a single error. Three of
those kills came from senior Tera Lobdell (Plymouth, MN /
Robbinsdale Armstrong) to give NIU an early 8-2 lead. The hosts
didn't stop there, pushing the advantage to 23-11 on another Lobdell
put-away before libero Gina Guide (Orland Park / Sandburg)
served six straight points to help make it 28-11. A Marie Zidek
(Evergreen Park / Chicago Heights Marian Catholic) dump and UIC
attack error finished off the 30-12 victory.
Lobdell gave a preview of what was to come the rest of the night,
hitting a gaudy .700 (7 kills-0 errors-10 attempts) in game one.
Only one Huskie who logged at least a single game one attack hit
lower than .500. Defensively, NIU set an early tone as well, holding
the Flames to a -.121 hitting percentage and forcing 13 attack errors.
Things were a bit tighter in game two as the teams battled through
five lead changes and nine ties---the last of which came at 20-20.
Once again, Lobdell provided a spark, however, serving four straight
points with help from kills by Kate McCullagh (Woodstock)
and Amy Ward (Sycamore) to establish a 24-20 cushion. Ward
took it from there, hammering home two of the last three points
to give the Huskies a 30-24 triumph.
"That is the kind of performance we are hoping to get from
Amy night in and night out," Gooden explained. "She did
a good job scoring, especially in some rotations where she was the
primary attacker. She is more than capable of doing it. She just
needs some reps and confidence to push her over the top."
An 11-9 start to game three made the match look anything but locked
up before the Huskies went on another run. Middle blocker Corinne
Walsh (Evergreen Park) and Lobdell were at the forefront, scoring
seven of the game's next 12 points to help guide Northern Illinois
to a 22-11 advantage. UIC would get no closer than eight the rest
of the way. A successful swing by McCullagh and an Illinois-Chicago
attack error wrapped up the three-game sweep.
The Huskie defense kept UIC at bay to the tune of a -.028 hitting
percentage for the entire night. Only two Flames entered a positive
number in that column, and even those two didn't cross the .000
barrier until the last few points of game three. Megan Markowski
(Glen Ellyn / Wheaton St. Francis) notched a career high with nine
total blocks to spearhead the effort. Walsh added four, and the
Huskies collected 10 total blocks as a group.
Offensively, the numbers speak for themselves. Lobdell totaled 18
kills and 10 digs while hitting a blistering .469 (18-3-32). Walsh
was even better, posting a three-game career-best .538 (8-1-13)
night to go with her four blocks. Ward set a career high with seven
kills, and hit .250. As a team, the Huskies attacked the net at
a .302 clip (49-17-106).
Northern Illinois looks to carry some momentum from its victory
to the road this weekend. NIU heads to Durham, NC, to meet up with
Southeastern Conference member South Carolina, Atlantic Coast Conference
representative Duke, and perennial Colonial Athletic Conference
kingpin Towson at the Duke Invitational. The Huskies kick off their
three-match round-robin slate with a 4:30 p.m. (EDT) contest against
TU Friday (Sept. 10).
-NIU- --Copy by Brian Kedzior
---Northern Illinois has played Illinois-Chicago more than any other
team in its 34-season volleyball history, now with 60 all-time meetings
between the schools. With their win Tuesday (Sept. 7), the Huskies
have won 16 consecutive matches over the Flames dating back to a
3-0 (15-5, 15-6, 15-11) loss on Oct. 23, 1990, and own a 35-25-0
edge in the all-time series..
18-kill, 10-dig performance, Tera Lobdell collected her 50th
Markowski has posted career-high numbers in each of her last
two matches. The Glen Ellyn native's 11-block night against Butler
Saturday (Sept. 4) was a five-game career best while the nine stuffs
she collected Tuesday (Sept. 7) are now her three-game standard.
Kate McCullagh notched her first ever 10-dig night, adding
10 "ups" to eight kills and a block.