VOLLEYBALL--- Northern Illinois University at Bowling Green State
University / at Bowling Green, OH / Anderson Arena / Mid-American
Conference match / Saturday / September 25, 2004
BOWLING GREEN STATE defeats NORTHERN ILLINOIS 3-1 (30-20, 30-18,
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
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
---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).
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