After loss to NIU, spikers 0-5 vesus Big Ten

By Kari Brackett

NIU’s volleyball team fell prey to another Big Ten volleyball team, losing to Northwestern 15-6, 15-3, 15-12 Tuesday night in Evanston.

The wildcats (22-6) are the fifth Big Ten team to defeat the Huskies this season. NIU had also lost to Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

While the Huskies (14-14) had spurts of good effort on the court, they were not consistent enough to get into the match. NIU coach Herb Summers said inconsistency plagued the NIU squad in the match.

“They (Northwestern) played more consistently and we cracked,” Summers said.

During the first game, NIU did not allow Northwestern to jump to an early lead. The Huskies were down only by three points, at 7-4, before the Wildcats took charge. Once Northwestern brought the score to 10-4, the Wildcats never looked back.

“We were really close in the beginning,” Summers said. “We just stopped passing. We either couldn’t get the ball up or we couldn’t get it to Beth (Glisk, the NIU setter).”

Summers decided to make some severe changes in the lineup for the second game. Although he moved people around, it seemed to make matters worse as NIU found itself down 12-0.

In the third game, the Huskies put on their best showing of the night, but it still was not enough. NIU came from behind to tie Northwestern at 12-12, but the Huskies made three errors to end the match.

Besides passing, Summers said Northwestern’s attacking game hurt the Huskies as well as serve receiving. Northwestern recorded 13 service aces compared to NIU’s three.

“They swung 21 more times than we did,” Summers said. “It is difficult to give a team that many more swings.”

NIU gathered 25 kills in 84 total attempts with 16 errors for an attack percentage of .109. Northwestern tallied 48 kills in 105 attempts with 16 errors for a .305 hitting percentage.

Leading the way for the Huskies was freshman Julie Kreiling. Kreiling recorded a .205 attack percentage with 4 kills in 12 attempts and one error. Glisk and Jamie Steenblock tied for second with a kill percentage of .167.

Although Summers said he was worried about his squad’s fundamental skills, he is also worried abouth injuries.

Freshman Kari Niesen is out for the rest of the season with a broken left foot. She hurt her foot during the first game of the Hofstra match at the weekend tournament at Illinois-Chicago and was able to finish that match. Summers gave last week against Bradley and she was expected to anchor the left-side attack. She already had become NIU’s second leading hitter with a .226 clip.

“No one knows how she hurt it,” Summers said . “It just got progressively worse. Not only was she passing well for us, but she was our most consistent left-side hitter.”

While Summers lost Niesen, he still has middle blocker Cathy Holmes. Holmes is ranked 16th in blocking by the American Volleyball Coaches Association with a 1.57 blocks-per-game average. She is the only North Star Conferece member in those rankings. Holmes also is being nominated for All-Region in the Mideast Region.