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September 25, 2004

WOMEN'S COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL--- Northern Illinois University at Bowling Green State University / at Bowling Green, OH / Anderson Arena / Mid-American Conference match / Saturday / September 25, 2004

FINAL SCORE: BOWLING GREEN STATE defeats NORTHERN ILLINOIS 3-1 (30-20, 30-18, 26-30, 30-22)

Box Score

Lobdell becomes all-time career kills leader but Huskie Volleyball drops another match to BGSU
BOWLING GREEN, OH -Since 1998, Amber Howard has stood as the standard by which Northern Illinois University women's volleyball outside hitters have been measured. Before her, it was Gina Graf, and before Graf, there was Carrie Prewitt---the first member of NIU's 1,000-kill club. Now, there is a new queen of the mountain.

Huskie senior Tera Lobdell (Plymouth, MN / Robbinsdale Armstrong) became the school's all-time career kills leader after racking up a four-game career best 27 put-aways in a 3-1 (30-20, 30-18, 26-30, 30-22) Mid-American Conference loss to Bowling Green State University Saturday (Sept. 25). Needing 21 successful swings to set the record, Lobdell broke the mark off a Marie Zidek (Evergreen Park / Chicago Heights Marian Catholic) set to make the score of game three 17-16 in favor of NIU (4-10, 0-2 MAC).

"To be honest, I didn't even know I was that close to any kind of record," Lobdell said. "During my freshman year, I just started trying to help out the team in any way I could. Over the years, my role has changed a little bit, but I've still always tried to just get kills to help my team win matches. That's all I've ever worried about."

During her three-plus seasons in DeKalb, Lobdell has accumulated 1,490 kills including 296 this season. The Plymouth, MN, native's 5.69 kills per game rate ranked sixth in the nation entering play this week. She has passed nine names on the Northern Illinois career kills list since the start of this year including former teammates Jen VonderHaar (1,315 kills from 1999-2002) and Tenisha Wilkins (1,421 kills from 1999-2002).

The rest of Lobdell's teammates did not fare so well against BGSU (9-4, 2-0 MAC) as for the third straight match, Kate McCullagh (Woodstock) was the only other Huskie who was able to enter a double-digit number in the kills column. The sophomore collected 11 kills with five total blocks while hitting .226 (11 kills-4 errors-31 attempts), but it was not enough to keep up with the Falcons.

BGSU jumped out early and often, racing out to big leads in each of the first two games of the night and not looking back. The hosts saw advantages has big as 15 in game one---a 30-20 Falcon victory---and 13 in game two---a 30-18 triumph. Northern Illinois mustered just 13 kills in each contest, hitting .000 as a team in the first stanza before logging just 32 attempts in the second.

The Huskies finally broke out in game three, racking up 22 kills while hitting .370 (22-5-46) on their way to a 30-26 victory. Lobdell's record-breaking kill started a small NIU run that turned a 16-16 tie into a 22-17 lead. Bowling Green tried to fight back, scoring four consecutive points to close the gap to one at 25-24, but back-to-back kills from McCullagh gave the Huskies a little breathing room, and a put-away by Megan Sprangers (Elgin / Larkin) finished the contest off.

Lobdell staked the Huskies to a 7-4 lead with a kill at the beginning of game four, but the Falcons erased that advantage with four straight points and never trailed again. BGSU extended its lead to 13-8 with another five-point streak and kept pulling away from there, watching its cushion reach its highest point when a Stephanie Swiger kill polished off the 30-22 win.

Much of NIU's lack of proficiency at the net can be attributed to the Bowling Green defense, which racked up 14 total blocks and 28 block assists. NIU bounced back from its game one .000 to hit .171 as a squad, but tallied just seven blocks of its own over the four-game set, and notched a pair of service aces while allowing seven. Zidek paced the NIU effort on the other side of the ball with 19 digs and two blocks while Sprangers added 12 blocks to her three kills for the night.

Northern Illinois finally returns home after three weeks and nine consecutive matches on the road. The Huskies take on Chicago State University Tuesday (Sept. 28) in a 7:00 p.m. (CDT) match at Victor E. Court.
-NIU-

Match Notes:
---In addition to being the school's new all-time career kills leader, Tera Lobdell is also moving up NIU's all-time digs chart. The senior now has 1,102 career "ups" after collecting eight more Saturday (Sept. 25)---good enough for the No. 6 spot on the career list. Lobdell is seven behind Tamara Stutheit (1995-98) and 55 behind Tenisha Wilkins (1999-2002).

---Northern Illinois' 21-day string without a home match is the Huskies' longest since former head coach Pete Waite's 1995 squad went 27 days (Sept. 23 - Oct. 20) without a match at Chick Evans Field House. Waite's group posted a 4-2 mark over that span before returning home and closing the regular season with seven wins in its last eight matches.