EMU drops Huskies in emotional match

By Kari Brackett

A young but mighty Eastern Michigan squad had no mercy for the NIU volleyball team as the Hurons defeated the Huskies 10-15, 15-10, 15-4, 15-8 during Parents Day at Chick Evans Field House Saturday night.

“We’ve been having trouble keeping our concentration at a high level,” NIU coach Herb Summers said. “We started the game emotional, too emotional. The emotion wore off in the third game, and we got flat.”

After a poor showing at Iowa earlier in the week, the Huskies felt they needed an impressive win. Middle blocker Cathy Holmes said NIU played aggressively and was stunned from the loss.

“The past two practices paid off,” Holmes said. “Everyone fought hard. I think we played well, and we should continue to work hard in practice.”

Although NIU lost the second game, it was the third game which was its demise. During the second game, the Huskies came from a 13-3 deficit to move within four points of the Hurons at 14-10.

“The more the match went on, we got more fatigued mentally than physically,” Summers said.

NIU, now 11-11, never got off the ground in the third game. Eastern Michigan, 14-5, scored 10 points before the Huskies could score two.

“We weren’t terrible,” Summers said. “We did some good things but not consistently, and that is what did us in.”

NIU’s hitting statistics were low, but in the overall game everything was about even. It was the left side hitting attack which hurt NIU. Three hitters had negative attack percentages. The Huskies made 14 service errors while the Hurons made 15.

“Hitting was low, but look at the left side attack. That did us in,” Summers said. “The serves are a wash. Fourteen is too high for us, but I think it goes back to being too emotional.

“The real difference is that they had 10 more kills than us, and we had six more errors.”

NIU gathered 37 kills of 130 total attempts and 27 errors for a .084 kill percentage. Eastern Michigan killed 47 in 128 tries and 21 errors to give the squad an attack percentage of .203.

olmes led both teams in hitting with a .388 percentage. Jamie Steenblock was second for NIU with an attack percentage of .178.

“Cathy’s hitting was most aggressive all year,” Summers said. “Jamie had one lull, but she came back.

“Overall, I was happy. The last two practices helped, but we are not there yet. We still have situations where a couple people do well and then one person is not ready.”

Summers said he hopes his squad builds on Saturday night’s game. He said he does not want anyone on his team who is not willing to put an all-out effort in a match.

“I am not going to suit people when we travel if they are not willing to play,” Summers said. “Teams have no right to say ‘we don’t win so forget about playing well.’ When players put on school uniforms, they have to show pride, and if they don’t, they don’t deserve to win.”