Volleyball loses 1st match since September

By Danielle Brown

Volleyball splits weekend matches

OXFORD, Ohio | The Huskies suffered their first loss since Sept. 10 on Saturday against the Miami University RedHawks.

NIU had won 14 consecutive matches, including a 11-0 start to Mid-American Conference play, but both of its streaks ended when the team lost in straight sets, (22-25, 20-25, 23-25).

Gooden said even though the result wasn’t the desired one, it was a competitive match.

“It was fun to play that match,” said Head Coach Ray Gooden. “Yes, we were on the wrong side of it, but I thought it was fun to be a part of that. I thought we were doing some good things, playing some good volleyball, but they were just a couple steps ahead at a couple critical times, and that’s really the difference. I think it’s a good learning [experience] for our group.”

The teams battled in the first set with a combined 32 kills. Neither team had a lead of more than four in the first set, but the RedHawks ultimately won it, 25-22.

The second set saw Miami take an 18-11 advantage before the Huskies had four straight kills to score eight of the following 10 points and make it 20-19. The RedHawks ended the set with three-straight kills to win the set, 25-20.

NIU took a 7-4 lead in the third set, but after a Miami timeout, they tied the set at 10.

The Huskies regained the lead 22-20 but lost three of the next four points and lost the third set and match, 25-23.

Western Michigan University

The Huskies (19-5, 11-1 Mid-American Conference) defeated the Western Michigan University Broncos (8-16, 3-8 MAC) in four sets, (19-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-20) Thursday.

The night was led by senior outside hitter Mary Grace Kelly as she registered 23 kills, matching her career high. Kelly also beat her best hitting percentage of .529 from last season against Eastern Michigan University with a .564 hitting percentage against Western Michigan.

“Every place in our league, their home court is very difficult,” said Head Coach Ray Gooden. “Here at Western Michigan, it is no different. It’s always been a big challenge for us because they bring a lot of energy and there’s a great atmosphere.”

Gooden said he was impressed by the way his team battled through the match, especially in the first set, which eventually led to the win.

The first set started off with both teams trading points, which resulted in a 10-10 tie. The Broncos gained the upper hand after a timeout that led to them winning the set, 25-19.

NIU’s offense, led by Kelly and sophomore middle blocker Meg Wolowicz, gave the team the spark it needed in the second set.

The set included 14 ties and eight lead changes, but the Huskies never trailed by more than two points.

NIU closed out the set, 26-24.

The Huskies had an early lead of 20-10 in the third set and continued applying pressure on the Broncos to win the set, 25-19.

Both teams were trading points and going at it back and forth. NIU finished strong to win the set, 25-20.

Wolowicz led with five blocks and eight kills. Senior middle blocker Jenna Radtke recorded 10 kills.

NIU looks to get back on track 7 p.m. Friday against Eastern Michigan University on Victor E. Court.

The Huskies will then host Senior Night 7 p.m. Saturday against Central Michigan University on Victor E. Court.