Volleyball plays home matches

By Danielle Brown

DeKALB | NIU volleyball (12-4, 4-0 Mid-American Conference) will be home this weekend as they host Ball State University (7-11, 3-1 MAC) 7 p.m. Friday, and University of Toledo 7 p.m. (10-6, 3-1 MAC) Saturday at Victor E. Court.

The Huskies have excelled over opponents with strong defense and competitive offense, and that type of play is expected to be seen this weekend as well, Head Coach Ray Gooden said.

The women’s volleyball team spent its weekend in Michigan playing both Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University.

NIU (12-4, 4-0 MAC) began the weekend’s games Friday night against Central Michigan (7-8, 0-3 MAC).

The Huskies’ defense helped win the matches in straight sets, (26-24, 25-22, 25-19) with 12 blocks as a team.

Senior middle blocker Jenna Radtke led the team with 10 blocks and two solo stops. Bri Horwath, senior right side hitter, had nine kills and Lauren Zielinski, redshirt senior middle blocker, had eight kills of her own.

“What really helped us was our ability to dig at the right times, and I thought [junior libero] Anna [Brereton] did a good job of putting herself in spots to make things happen for us,” Gooden said.

The Huskies then headed to Ypsilanti, Michigan, and faced Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

The Huskies managed to hit a season high of .365 against the Eagles (7-10, 2-2 MAC), winning the game in straight sets (25-15, 25-18, 25-19). Horwath and senior outside hitter Mary Grace Kelly both led the team with nine kills each.

Brereton played well on the defensive end, finishing with 13 digs.

“Eastern Michigan is a very good team, and we were fortunate enough to win the tough and gritty points in some really key situations, and I think that helped us to move ahead,” Gooden said.

After the Huskies play Toledo, they will play 7 p.m. Oct. 14 against University of Buffalo before playing University of Akron 7 p.m. Oct. 15 . Both games will be hosted by NIU at Victor E. Court.