VOLLEYBALL--- Northern Illinois University at Duke Invitational
/ at Durham, NC / Cameron Indoor Stadium / Saturday / September
SOUTH CAROLINA defeats NORTHERN ILLINOIS 3-1 (30-28, 30-27, 22-30,
DUKE defeats NORTHERN ILLINOIS 3-0 (30-19, 30-21, 30-21)
Score vs. USC
Box Score vs. Duke
HUSKIE VOLLEYBALL DROPS TWO MORE MATCHES TO CLOSE OUT 0-3 WEEKEND
DeKALB, IL - Battling the loss of two starters and playing two matches
in the same day with just seven players, the Northern Illinois University
women's volleyball team dropped a pair of contests Saturday (Sept.
11) to finish a weekend stint at the Duke Invitational 0-3.
The Huskies---now 2-6 on the season---played their doubleheader
without middle blocker Megan Markowski (Glen Ellyn / Wheaton
St. Francis) and outside hitter Laura Baetzel (Chicago /
Burbank Queen of Peace) who are both nursing injuries. South Carolina
moved to 4-2 on the year and finished the weekend tournament at
2-1. Duke posted an unbeaten 3-0 slate to win its own event and
improve to 6-2.
"We're just hurt right now," Huskie head coach Ray
Gooden noted. "We have people out of their normal spots
that are really trying to give their best efforts. Now, its just
a matter of believing that we can win every game no matter the situation."
NIU put up a valiant effort against the University of South Carolina
to open the day, starting right away in a game one that saw neither
team lead by more than three points. The squads battled through
nine ties including one at 22-22 before a Corinne Walsh (Evergreen
Park) kill gave the Huskies a one-point lead. Three consecutive
Gamecock points pushed the advantage back the other way to stay,
however, and USC held off a late Huskie charge for a 30-28 win.
The story was pretty much the same in game two with USC using a
late surge to erase an 18-16 Huskie lead and pull away for a 30-27
victory, but NIU finally put one away in game three. Walsh and Tera
Lobdell (Plymouth, MN / Robbinsdale Armstrong) combined for
a block on the first point of the game, and NIU never looked back.
The Huskies built that lead to 11-4 and held the Gamecocks to just
11 kills as a team. Seven Lobdell kills spearheaded an aggressive
attack, and Northern Illinois pulled out a strong 30-22 triumph.
"We had a chance to win those first couple games," Gooden
added. "Finally, we kept the errors down and converted some
points to take game three, but without a couple mistakes here and
there, the match could have easily gone five games."
South Carolina turned the tables in game four, pulling out to a
7-3 lead and never trailing themselves. A Gamecock block at 19-14
ignited a six-point run that extended the lead to 25-14. USC coasted
from their, closing out the match with a 30-21 victory. Lobdell
paced the NIU attack with 25 kills and 17 digs. Walsh and Kate
McCullagh (Woodstock) notched 13 successful swings apiece while
each hitting better than .220. Walsh added four blocks on the defensive
side of the ball while Guide led a pack of five Huskies that put
up at least ten digs with 18.
NIU's nightcap against Duke wasn't as close, although things started
out extremely well for the Huskies. Three Lobdell kills helped stake
the visitors to a 6-1 lead to begin the match, but DU battled back
immediately, scoring six of the next seven point to even things
up at 7-7. After trading points to 12-12, the tourney hosts exploded
for 13 of the game's next 16 points to take a commanding 25-15 lead
and cruise to a 30-19 win.
Duke turned the tables in games two and three, racing out to 5-0
and 6-2 leads in the two contests, respectively. Northern Illinois
never led again the rest of the night and hit just .111 for the
match while the Blue Devils put up a .348 mark that included a .500
third game. Lobdell tried to stage a one-person assault, putting
up 21 kills in a career-high 69 attempts. The senior's previous
three-game high mark was 49 swings set just under two weeks ago
versus Western Illinois. McCullagh chipped in with 10 put-aways
of her own at a .296 clip.
"Kate played really well this weekend," Gooden added.
"She is starting to take all of her natural athleticism and
work to become a complete volleyball player. As a coaching staff,
we're trying to accelerate her learning curve as much as possible,
and we are seeing a lot of positive things in her game."
Northern Illinois has a full week to heal up and get ready for their
next road venture. The Huskies return to action Friday (Sept. 17)
when they travel to Cedar Falls, IA, for the University of Northern
Iowa Invitational. Once again, NIU is scheduled to play three matches
in two days starting with a 5:00 p.m. (CDT) tilt against South Florida.
-NIU- --Copy by Brian Kedzior
---Tera Lobdell was the lone NIU representative on the Duke
Invite's All-Tournament Team. The senior racked up at least 20 kills
in each of her three matches, averaging 5.83 put-aways per game
to go along with 3.25 digs and 0.58 blocks per contest.
Zidek (Evergreen Park / Chicago Heights Marian Catholic) has
notched at least 10 digs in six of seven matches this season including
a three-game career best of 14 against Duke.
Amy Ward (Sycamore) stepped in and put up two 10-plus dig
performances Saturday (Sept. 11), tallying 11 "ups" in
the opener against USC before notching 12 more against Duke.