COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL--- Northern Illinois University vs. University
of Akron / at Akron, OH / J.A.R. Arena / Mid-American Conference
match / Friday / October 15, 2004
AKRON defeats NORTHERN ILLINOIS 3-1 (30-28, 31-29, 28-30, 31-29)
Leads Near-School Record Digging Effort, But NIU Volleyball Still
Falls In Four To Akron
AKRON, OH-Northern Illinois University kept digging itself a hole
and in the end, it was just one step too deep to climb out of. The
Huskies had to fight back from point number one and did so every
step up the way, but still eventually fell to the University of
Akron 3-1 (30-28, 31-29, 28-30, 31-29) in Mid-American Conference
womens volleyball action at UAs J.A.R. Arena Friday
NIU drops its fourth straight match and falls to 7-14 overall on
the season with a 2-5 mark in the MAC. Akron, on the other hand,
extends its season-long winning streak to three matches and moves
to 11-8 on the year with a 3-4 record in the league.
The Huskies suffered the loss despite coming with seven digs of
setting the all-time school record for digs in a match. Junior Megan
Sprangers (Elgin / Larkin) led the charge by breaking the all-time
Northern Illinois single-match mark with 35. Tera Lobdell (Plymouth,
MN / Robbinsdale Armstrong) set a new career high with 27 ups
while sophomore libero Gina Guide (Orland Park / Sandburg) matched
her career best with 25. In spite of their efforts, the Huskies
still, amazingly, were out-dug 125-123.
Akrons a traditionally strong defensive team,
NIU head coach Ray Gooden said. We had to come close to matching
that tonight. Both teams made some really good defensive plays to
score some critical points.
A furious Northern Illinois comeback came up just short in game
one. Trailing 27-20 at one point, freshman Laura Baetzel (Chicago
/ Burbank Queen of Peace) took the serve, and ran off six straight
points with some help from three Tera Lobdell (Plymouth, MN / Robbinsdale
Armstrong) kills. NIU couldnt quite get back to even, however,
staying within one all the way to 29-28 on a Megan Markowski (Glen
Ellyn / Wheaton St. Francis) kill, but an attack attempt to tie
the game sailed wide and gave the Zips a 30-28 win. The Huskies
hit just .080 in the first stanza, but dug 24 balls and outblocked
Ironically enough, Baetzel took the serve just after Akron scored
their 27th point in game two as well. Once again, the freshman spurred
a run as NIU scored three consecutive points to erase a 27-24 deficit
and tie the contest. Despite surrendering the next two points, the
Huskies battled back to knot the game again on a Markowski put-away
and a UA attack error at 29-29. Zip outside hitter Sarah Hopper
skipped her next shot in for a kill, however, and it was an attack
error by the visitors once again that sealed a 31-29 Akron victory.
NIU finally got over the hump and pulled out a close game in game
three. Once again, the Huskies had to battle back from a big deficit,
trailing 22-15 after a UA put-away. The visitors responded by scoring
the games next seven points to even things back up, however,
and the back and forth struggle was on. Both teams battled to five
more ties the rest of the way before back-to-back Lobdell kills
seperated the Huskies at 28-28 and gave NIU a 30-28 victory.
Akron closed the match out with another two-point win in game four.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Huskies battled back from a
late disadvantage. Trailing 28-23 after a service error, NIU scored
six of the next seven points to stave off defeat and tie the contest
at 29-29 on a block by Markowski and Kate McCullagh (Woodstock).
McCullagh fell into the net on the very next point, however, and
UA middle Molly Rutledge won a long rally with a shot off the ten-foot
line to end the match with a 31-29 triumph.
Lobdell added 22 kills to her 27 digs to lead all players and collect
her fourth straight 20-kill night. Markowski posted yet another
solid night, racking up 17 kills at a .292 (17-3-48) clip with eight
digs and four blocks. McCullagh---for the third time in the past
two weeks-came perilously close to her first triple-double with
16 kills, 10 digs, and nine total blocks.
Northern Illinois returns to action at home by welcoming Eastern
Michigan University to town Wednesday (Oct. 20). First serve is
scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (CDT) at NIUs Victor E. Court.