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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Huskies scorched by Rockets, lose sixth-straight

Volleyball, Parys fall to vaunted Toledo team
Josephine Dunmore
From left: NIU senior opposite/outside hitter Emily Dykes (12), junior middle blocker Charli Atiemo (11) and sophomore outside hitter Nazli Güvener (17) look on during Friday’s match against the University of Toledo at Victor E. Court. The Huskies fell in four sets to the Rockets, extending their losing streak to six consecutive matches. (Josephine Dunmore | Northern Star)

DeKALB – NIU volleyball’s struggles continue after the awaited matchup between first-year NIU volleyball head coach Sondra Parys’ Huskies and her alma mater, the University of Toledo, ended in NIU’s third consecutive home defeat.

Toledo (11-14, 9-5) walked away with the four-set victory, 17-25, 25-23, 21-25, 18-25, on Friday to push NIU’s (8-18, 6-8 MAC) losing streak to six matches. The Huskies’ ongoing skid is tied with Miami University for the longest active losing streak in the MAC.


Sophomore outside hitter Nazli Güvener racked up a team-best 10 kills in her second-straight start.

Junior middle blocker Charli Atiemo, who tallied 8 kills, set a new single-game high in service aces. Atiemo aced Toledo five times from the service line, beating her previous best of 3 aces.

“I just try to put pressure wherever I’m at on the court and help the team wherever I can,” Atiemo said. “So if that’s behind the service line, I’m going to do the best I can.”

NIU was restrained to sub-.200 hitting percentages in three of four sets, including .029 hitting in the final frame. The hosting Huskies surrendered 57 kills and .313 hitting while posting 43 kills and a .154 hitting.

“There were parts of it (the match) that were really good,” said NIU volleyball head coach Sondra Parys. “It went a little differently than I thought, in some ways, to be honest. I thought we were prepared and hungry for a win and not sure we responded the way that thought we would’ve.”


NIU struggled to contain a Toledo attack spearheaded by senior outside hitter Taylor Alt, the Rockets’ all-time career kills leader. Alt unleashed 22 kills – one shy of her season-high – on a team-best .450 hitting percentage.

In addition to Alt’s match-best kills performance, the match’s leaders in assists, digs and blocks all came from Toledo’s side of the net. 

Rocket senior setter Mary-Kate Lopez secured a double-double after finishing with 36 assists and 13 digs.

On defense, fifth-year defensive specialist/libero Ryann Jaqua recorded 21 digs, and fifth-year middle blocker Rhyenne Filisi recorded 8 blocks.

Entering Friday’s match as one of the league’s top blocking teams, NIU was wholly out-classed in the blocking category. The Rockets stuffed 12 attacks while the Huskies’ mustered 3 blocks.


With the defeat, NIU is now tied with the University of Akron for eighth place in the conference standings. The Huskies sit a game behind a two-way tie for the No. 6 seed, the final seed to advance to the MAC Tournament.

“The position we are in might be a little tough, and it might be a little hard to get into the conference tournament, but that’s not something we need to pay attention to,” junior libero Crew Hoffmeier said. “It’s the next game, and that is Toledo tomorrow. We’re going to go home, prepare with film, and just be ready to play our hearts out tomorrow.”

NIU will honor its four seniors during Saturday’s series finale with Toledo. The Huskies’ Senior Day match will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at Victor E. Court. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+, and live statistics will be offered on SIDEARM Sports

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