Huskies earn Homecoming royalty with two MAC victories

Senior setter Amanda Krahl (left), has a word with junior libero Miranda Karlen Friday during an eventual 3-1 victory against Kent State University at Victor E. Court.

Senior setter Amanda Krahl (left), has a word with junior libero Miranda Karlen Friday during an eventual 3-1 victory against Kent State University at Victor E. Court.

Justin Kelley

DeKALB — Homecoming week brought out the best of the volleyball team as the Huskies won Friday against Kent State University and Saturday against Ohio University.

The Huskies won both matches in four sets, the second time this season the team has won back-to-back matches. 

Kaitlyn Bell, first-year outside hitter, was NIU’s most effective player on the offense as the Huskie posted 29 of 135 of NIU’s points, not including points earned from errors.

“Everybody on our team is capable [of performing well],” Head Coach Ray Gooden said. “It’s not going to be one single person a night. [Bell’s] success comes from good first contact from our back row players or [sophomore setter Grace Balensiefer] delivering a ball, so [Bell] can do some good things.”

With Saturday’s win, the  volleyball team moves to a 5-4 home record, including a 3-2 home Mid-American Conference record.

Friday

NIU snapped a three-match losing streak with the help from Bell and Peyton Tilly, first-year outside hitter. The first-year Huskies led the offense with 28 total attempts and 27 total attempts for Tilly, executing 16 kills and Tilly 11 kills respectively. 

Bell had the finishing dagger in the first set with a kill that earned NIU a first-set win. Balensiefer provided the assist with a pass from junior libero Miranda Karlen. Balensiefer finished the match with 46 assists, while Karlen posted 23 digs. 

NIU went on to win the match 26-24, 19-25, 25-19 and 25-18.

Saturday

Sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Kemp added a little flavor to Homecoming as the DeKalb native led NIU in kills with 15. Kemp’s 15 kills are her career high, leading to 18 total points attributed to the Huskie.

The Huskies fell in the first set 25-13 but bounced back with a second set 28-26 victory which kick started the comeback. NIU edged out Ohio in the third set 25-23, before holding the Bobcats to their fewest points of the match in a match-clinching 25-17 victory.