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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Huskies ground Eagles, complete Homecoming sweep

Volleyball jumps to fourth in MAC rankings
Josephine Dunmore
From left: Graduate outside hitter Katie Erdmann, junior setter Sophie Hurt, junior middle blocker Charli Atiemo, graduate student outside hitter Isabelle Percoco, junior outside hitter Nikolette Nedic and sophomore middle blocker Savanah Brandt switch sides after winning the second set of Sept. 30’s volleyball match between NIU and Miami University at Victor E. Court. The Huskies defeated the RedHawks to complete a weekend sweep of Miami. (Josephine Dunmore | Northern Star)

DeKALB – NIU volleyball had plenty to celebrate on Friday night, Homecoming week series sweep to a conference leaderboard climb.

The Huskies (8-12, 6-2 MAC) demolished the visiting Eastern Michigan University Eagles (2-19, 0-9 MAC) in straight sets, 25-21, 25-19, 25-16, to complete a series sweep on Friday at Victor E. Court.

NIU — now the winner of six of its past seven matches — used the victory to climb two spots in the MAC standings. Losses by the University of Akron and the University of Toledo allowed NIU to leapfrog both teams in the league rankings and move to No. 4.

NIU outperformed Eastern Michigan in every statistical category en route to a win that keeps the Huskies undefeated at Victor E. Court this season.

“That was exactly how you would hope a team to come back and take care of business after a little bit of an up-and-down match yesterday (Thursday),” said NIU volleyball head coach Sondra Parys. “We came in prepared, we executed well.”

The Huskies registered a team total of 40 kills on .248 hitting. Graduate student outside hitter Katie Erdmann and junior outside hitter Nikolette Nedic tied for NIU’s lead in kills with nine each.

“Offensively, our kills were straight down,” Erdmann said. “To be able to not only get the point, but also the momentum that went with that, was huge.”

NIU used that momentum to roll past the Eagles in all three frames. The Huskies trailed just three times throughout the entire match, once in each set.

“There was no doubt throughout any of the sets,” Erdmann said. “We just played dominant and with confidence.

On the defensive end, NIU’s front row rejected 10 EMU attacks to finish with double-digit blocks for the second match in a row.

The Huskies’ setting pair of senior Ella Mihacevich and junior Sophie Hurt registered the game’s top two assisting performances. Mihacevich topped the match with 18 helpers, followed by Hurt’s 15.

Erdmann spent the match chasing her 1,000th career kill, needing 10 to reach the mark.

Upon the final whistle, Erdmann’s terminating total fell one kill shy of the quadruple-digit milestone.

“It was definitely in the back of my mind, but everything happens for a reason,” Erdmann said. “I know that that one kill I’m missing is going to be what gets us over the edge against Western (Michigan University), and maybe we need that for Western. Someone knows that that I don’t, so I’m excited.”

The Huskies have a short turnaround ahead as they prepare for one of their biggest tests of the season.

NIU hits the road in four days to take on MAC frontrunner Western Michigan (18-2, 8-0 MAC) at 5 p.m. CT Tuesday at University Arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There, the Huskies will look to hand the Broncos their first loss in conference play.

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