VOLLEYBALL--- Northern Illinois University at Loyola University-Chicago
/ at Chicago, IL / Victor E. Court / non-conference match / Tuesday
/ September 21, 2004
NORTHERN ILLINOIS defeats LOYOLA-CHICAGO 3-0 (30-28, 30-28, 30-27)
Volleyball uses efficiency, resolve to snap Loyola's eight-match
winning streak with 3-0 win
CHICAGO, IL -Northern Illinois University hit .279 and accumulated
just 15 attack errors as a team, and that clean play proved to be
the difference as the Huskies snapped Loyola University-Chicago's
eight-match winning streak in a tight 3-0 (30-28, 30-28, 30-27)
women's volleyball match at LUC's Gentile Center Tuesday (Sept.
NIU used a two-pronged attack to bury the Ramblers on offense as
Kate McCullagh (Woodstock) and Tera Lobdell (Plymouth,
MN / Robbinsdale Armstrong) led the way with 17 and 16 kills, respectively.
Lobdell attacked the net at a .317 (16 kills-3 errors-41 attempts)
clip and also added a team-high 14 digs to the cause to help the
Huskies move to 4-8 overall on the season. Loyola falls to 8-4 for
the year and suffers its first lost since a 3-0 setback to Oral
Roberts on Sept. 4.
The Huskies got off to a good start, winning a tense back-and-forth
battle in game one 30-28. McCullagh led the way, racking up eight
kills in the first stanza including the game-winner. NIU hit .386
as a team and battled back from a three-point deficit as late as
24-21 to put itself in a position to take the game. Keeping errors
down was paramount in a game that saw 14 ties and seven lead changes,
and the Huskies accumulated just four attack errors. Every player
in the lineup put a positive number in the hitting percentage column.
NIU had to fight from behind again from the first point in game
two, falling behind by as many as four before storming back and
taking its first lead of the contest on an LUC attack error at 18-17.
That lead didn't even last a single point as the Ramblers responded
by scoring five of the next six points to regain a 22-19 advantage.
Once again, however, the Huskies showed a resilient streak, using
two Loyola errors, a Corinne Walsh (Evergreen Park) block,
and a Lobdell kill to jump back up 25-23.
That lead swelled as big as five at 29-24, but LUC fought off four
game points to close the gap back down to 29-28. Katie Prechel's
run finally came to an end, however, as the Rambler senior sent
her next serve into the net to give Northern Illinois a nail-biting
"We talked on Monday about finishing games," Huskie head
coach Ray Gooden noted. "We have been putting ourselves
in spots to win games, but just haven't finished them. It was apparent
that we needed to work on that, and tonight, we did a much better
Game three was just as tight as its two predecessors with the two
squads deadlocking 10 times and watching the lead exchange hands
four times. NIU put the first serious run together, breaking a 17-17
tie with five straight points---four of which came off Rambler errors---to
grab a 22-17 advantage. Another Lobdell kill pushed the lead to
seven at 26-19, but Loyola had one last surge left.
Lobdell notched a service ace to make the score 29-23 before LUC
brought Sarah Elmer off the bench for her first action of the entire
night. All Elmer did was use solid serving to help the Ramblers
score three consecutive points and pull to within 29-27. Once again,
however, the Huskies sealed the game without having to play the
ball as Elmer's last serve sailed deep, and NIU had the match.
Setter Marie Zidek (Evergreen Park / Chicago Heights Marian
Catholic) set the table for the strong NIU offensive performance,
racking up 40 assists to go with 13 digs. Five Huskies combined
for 8.5 total blocks on the defensive side including five by Walsh
and three more by senior Megan Markowski (Glen Ellyn / Wheaton
St. Francis)---seeing her first full-time action since Northern
Illinois' five-game loss to Towson back on Sept. 10.
"Megan's forte is blocking," Gooden explained. "She
did a good job of blocking and getting some good touches on their
best attackers. That allowed Tera (Lobdell) and Kate (McCullagh)
to become even more versatile at the net with not only their attacks,
but their blocks as well."
Northern Illinois starts from scratch Friday as 13 teams enter Mid-American
Conference play with 0-0 records. NIU heads to Eastern Michigan
University for a 7:00 p.m. (EDT) match Friday (Sept. 24) to start
its league slate before taking on Bowling Green State University
at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) Saturday (Sept. 25).
---Head coach Ray Gooden spent five years as an assistant
at Loyola before taking over as the head man in DeKalb. Since taking
over the Huskie program, Gooden is 2-1 against his former team including
a 3-1 win at Victor E. Court on Sept. 30, 2003.
its second-highest hitting percentage of the season against Loyola.
Tuesday's (Sept. 21) .279 effort trails only the .302 the Huskies
put up against Illinois-Chicago back on Sept. 7.
kills versus the Ramblers Tera Lobdell inched closer to breaking
the all-time Northern Illinois career kills record. The senior now
sits just 39 successful swings from becoming NIU's new all-time
kills leader. Amber Howard is the current record holder with
1,484 put-aways from 1995-98.