VOLLEYBALL--- Northern Illinois University vs. Bowling Green State
University / at DeKalb, IL / Victor E. Court / Mid-American Conference
Match / Saturday / November 15, 2003
NORTHERN ILLINOIS defeats BOWLING GREEN STATE 3-0 (30-28, 30-22,
SECURES FIRST-ROUND HOME MATCH WITH ALL-AROUND EFFORT IN WIN OVER
DeKALB, IL--Using a balanced attack, Northern Illinois University
secured a first-round home match in the Mid-American Conference
women's volleyball tournament with a 3-0 (30-28, 30-22, 30-23) win
over Bowling Green State University at Victor E. Court Saturday
NIU's victory closes out its regular season at 19-10, but more importantly,
gets the Huskies back to the break-even point at 8-8 in the MAC
and settles them into the sixth seed for next week's conference
summit. Bowling Green falls to 12-18 on the season while boasting
a 4-12 mark in MAC play.
"The most important thing about this whole situation is that
we get to sleep in our own beds next week," NIU head coach
Ray Gooden explained. "Other than that, it's tournament
time, and no matter where you are or who you are playing, you're
going to have play some very good volleyball to win."
Three Huskies notched at least 10 kills on Senior Appreciation Night
including co-honoree Brooke Dodson (St. Charles) who scored
11 points via the kill at a .219 clip (11 kills-4 errors-32 attempts).
Tera Lobdell (Plymouth, MN / Robbinsdale Armstrong) also
notched 11 successful swings while hitting .214 (11-5-28) while
freshman Kate McCullagh (Woodstock) led NIU in kills for
the first time this season with 12 while hitting .296 (12-4-27).
"It was very nice to have everybody contributing tonight,"
Gooden noted. "Brooke, Tera, and Kate did a good job attacking
the ball, and as an entire group we just did a good job at the net
All three players got off to a great start, combining for 16 kills
to lead the Huskies to a 30-28 come-from-behind victory in game
one. BGSU scored the first five points of the night and extended
its lead as high as seven (17-10, 18-11). NIU battled back, however,
attacking the net at a vicious pace on its way to 22 game-one kills,
and took its first lead of the night at 25-24 on a McCullagh put-away.
The freshman continued her assault to the end, scoring four of Northern
Illinois' last six points with kills before giving way to Lobdell
who finished off the opening stanza with a swing of her own. Defensively,
the Huskies were all over the floor, racking up 22 game-one digs
spread out between eight different players.
NIU did not wait quite as long to make its move in game two, grabbing
a 9-8 lead on a Marie Zidek (Evergreen Park / Chicago Heights
Marian Catholic) tip, scoring nine of the next 10 points to push
the advantage to 16-9, and never look back in a 30-22 win. This
time it was the Huskies who went up by as many as seven before Dodson
capped off a five-point service run with an ace to push the lead
to its highest point on the game's final point.
Zidek also gave the Huskies a lift early in game three. The sophomore
ran around to the Bowling Green side of the net to keep a ball in
play and allow Lobdell and Megan Markowski (Glen Ellyn /
Wheaton St. Francis) to score a point with a tandem block to make
the score 4-2. NIU never trailed again, cruising to a 30-23 victory
that clinched the match.
McCullagh collected two blocks in the game three to finish the night
with eight---most of any player on the floor. As a team, the Huskies
outblocked the Falcons 13.5-8 while also collecting 55 team digs
to just 51 for the visitors. Lobdell had 13 of those to earn her
18th double-double of the season and seventh in her last 10 matches.
The junior also added four blocks to share match-high honors with
McCullagh at 16 total points.
"Kate is doing alright," Gooden added. "She is getting
a better understanding of what we are trying to do, and she is developing
a better relationship with Marie (Zidek). So, things are starting
to come around for her."
Senior Amanda Newlin (Rolling Hills Estates, CA / Palos Verdes
Peninsula) got the start on senior night and made contributions
of her own, dishing out a career-high 12 assists while adding three
kills and five digs in her final regular-season match as a Huskie.
"This is kind of a lesson learned for us," Gooden said,
citing two losses on the final weekend of last season that kept
the Huskies out of the MAC Tournament. "We stayed strong to
win Friday, and took advantage of our situation tonight. All weekend,
we worked hard and stayed with our plan."
As the sixth seed, Northern Illinois is slated to see the University
at Buffalo in the first round of the MAC Tournament Tuesday (Nov.
15). The Bulls---who pulled off a dramatic 3-2 victory over NIU
two weeks ago at Victor E. Court---closed out their regular season
at with a 3-0 loss to conference top seed Ohio University Saturday
(Nov. 15) in Athens, OH.
-30- --Copy by Brian Kedzior