Gooden gets 300th win in MAC opener

By Justin Kelley

Head volleyball coach Ray Gooden opened conference play on a high note, winning two straight and earning his 300th career win.

“It’s great,” Gooden said. “The biggest thing is we’re 1-0 in league play, and at some point we can go back and talk about my career, but as a group we have been working hard to get to this point.”

Game One

The Huskies started off strong Friday against the University of Toledo Rockets by jumping to a 10-4 lead in the first set after a kill by sophomore Jori Radtke. Radtke led the Huskies to a 25-15 set win by finishing with four kills and a hitting percentage of .300.

They continued to have success in the second set by controlling the tempo early, taking a 10-6 lead on a kill by first year Grace Balensiefer. Balensiefer also had 12 of her 33 assists in the second set that helped give the Huskies a 25-21 set win.

The Huskies and Rockets battled for control of the final set, with the score being tied 16 times in the set. Senior Meg Wolowicz had a huge third set by having eight kills and a hitting percentage of .462, helping lead the Huskies past the Rockets 25-23.

Game Two

The Huskies started off slow against Ball State, going down 0-4 in the first set. The Huskies battled back, tallying points on seven of the next 10 volleys to tie the game 7-7. Once tied, both teams went back and forth for control with five lead changes.

The Huskies took the lead late in the set on an attack error by the Cardinals, and then eventually won the set 25-23 after being down a point with a late surge by Radtke, who finished the set with four kills.

The Huskies looked poised to set the tempo, jumping to 10-6 lead after a Wolowicz kill. She had five kills with a hitting percentage of .625 in the second set, leading the Huskies to a 25-18 set win.

The Huskies looked to sweep the Cardinals in the third set but started off slow and never regained the momentum from the the first two sets. Although the Huskies lost the third set, first year Jasmine Kemp had solid set, converting three kills and one block.

The Huskies momentum returned in the final set, as they jumped out to a 17-10 lead. They won the set 25-21, preventing the Cardinals late push to go 2-0 in conference.

Wolowicz said after the game how important it is to open conference play on a high note.

“Its huge for our confidence and record,” Wolowicz said. “People look at us and don’t expect this from us and the team is starting to click, which is what we wanted from the start of the season.”

The Huskies next game is for 7 p.m. at Victory E. Court Thursday against Western Michigan Broncos.