Volleyball celebrates 3rd consecutive title


Members of the team celebrate a point in an Oct. 15 match against University of Akron. NIU won the match 3-2. 

By Danielle Brown

DeKALB | The women’s volleyball team earned its third consecutive Mid-American Conference West Divisional title Friday night.

“Tonight was a really good response after last week’s setback against Miami University,” said Head Coach Ray Gooden. “To come back and defend home [court] like we did was awesome. I think a byproduct of what we’ve done so far this season is a result of being crowned MAC West Champions, so we’re very proud of that.”

The Huskies (21-5, 13-1 MAC) defeated the Eastern Michigan University Eagles (8-18, 3-10 MAC) in straight sets, (25-12, 25-16, 25-19) to earn their fifth MAC-West title under Gooden’s tutelage.

Senior middle blocker Jenna Radtke had seven blocks and Lauren Zielinski, redshirt senior middle blocker, had six blocks of her own. Zielinski went on to add a .615 hitting percentage.

Senior outside hitter Mary Grace Kelly led with ten kills. Junior libero Anna Brereton totaled 14 digs and three service aces.

The Huskies set the tone in the first set.

They started with a 10-1 run, which included six kills, two blocks and two aces. The Huskies played hard physically, leading to a 25-12 opening set victory.

The second set was hard hitting from both teams. The Huskies and the Eagles totaled 23 kills and only six errors, but the Huskies prevailed by a score of 25-16.

The third set was defensively strong for NIU as they committed to blocks. Brereton totaled eight digs in the final set. The crowd cheered the Huskies to victory as the team rallied to a 25-19 set win.

NIU also defeated Central Michigan University Saturday in four sets, (23-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-15) making its Senior Night a success.

The Huskies will close out the regular season away from Victor E. Court. They play 6 p.m. Friday against Toledo University in Toledo, Ohio before playing their final regular season game 6 p.m. Saturday against Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

The MAC Championships will begin Nov. 17 on Victor E. Court with the start times to be announced at a later date.