Volleyball falls to Ohio, Kent State


NIU Sophomore MacKenzie Roddy hurdles the volleyball back against the Akron Zips.

By Mike Romor

The goal of the weekend for NIU volleyball was to capitalize on the road against two MAC cross-divisional foes.

The Huskies (15-11, 6-4 MAC) fell short of their goal and their standards, suffering two four-set losses.

After losing Friday to Ohio (14-9, 9-1 MAC), NIU looked to have a much easier opponent to bounce back.

Inopportune play from an unrested NIU squad, mixed with a strong effort from Kent State, ended the Huskies’ weekend on a sour note.

“We’re disappointed,” said coach Ray Gooden. “You always want to play your best whether you’re at home or on the road. We didn’t play as well as we needed to against two teams that are very comfortable at home. We’ve got to get ourselves back and working to playing good volleyball again.”

Kent State (6-16, 3-7 MAC) entered Saturday’s homecoming match with NIU having won just two of its previous 13 matches. During that span, the Golden Flashes were swept 11 times.

Both of their wins during that stretch were comeback victories after dropping their first set.

Kent State came back to win again against NIU.

“We didn’t play well,” Gooden said. “They played with a lot of confidence and energy and that got them the win today. I give them a lot of credit; they did a real good job. They defended their home court. They went out there and played freely and really took it to us.”

NIU started the weekend locked in a three-way tie at the top of the MAC West.

Despite their weekend, the Huskies are still in contention.

With Central Michigan and Western Michigan also on the road, the Chippewas dropped their two matches and the Broncos split their MAC contests.

After one of their most disappointing weekends of the season, the Huskies sit just one game out of first in their division.

NIU hopes to take advantage of its upcoming homestand to stay in contention for the first seed in the highly-competitive MAC West.

“We’re going to work really hard this week,” Gooden said. “It’s a tough weekend and everybody’s coming in looking for wins.”