Women’s volleyball finishes trip with 8-6 record

By Mike Romor

Three weeks and two days later, it’s finally over.

Volleyball’s 14-match road trip came to an end Saturday in Ypsilanti, Mich.

The Huskies (10-8, 1-1 MAC) 3-0 loss to EMU (11-7, 1-1 MAC) may have been a disappointing ending note, but NIU finished the trip with an 8-6 record.

Senior Mary Kurisch led the Huskies with 10 kills and a .406 hitting percentage on the night. She led the team with six block assists.

Consistency continued to be the problem for NIU, who had only one player reach double-digit kills against the Eagles.

NIU was out hit .226-.173 and came out struggling. In the first set, the Huskies hit just .130, giving the Eagles an early lead that they took full advantage of. EMU was first to score 10 points in each of the three sets.

EMU was led by junior Rachel Iaquaniello. Last year’s First Team All-MAC outside hitter paced the Eagles with a match-high 14 kills. She also contributed with 11 digs.

The win snapped a five-match losing streak for EMU, dating back to Sept. 8.

Although the trip ended on a sour note, NIU did salvage a win Friday over CMU (7-6, 1-1 MAC).

“We’ve got to find some positive things from the weekend,” Gooden said. “We got the win on the road against a really good Central Michigan team. We’re still continuing to work hard to play consistent like we did when we beat [CMU] Friday.”

In a rematch of last season’s MAC Championship, NIU came out with purpose against the team that gave the Huskies a second straight championship loss.

“I don’t know if there’s any revenge in the match,” Gooden said. “Last year was last year. The girls who played them in 2011 weren’t out there playing for us [Friday]. We’ll try our best to try and keep it in the moment.”

The Huskies played solid all-around volleyball in the 3-1 win to open conference play.

Despite being out hit .370-.138 in the opening set, NIU stayed strong and played a more balanced game than the Chippewas in the three sets that followed.

“It was nice to beat them,” said senior outside hitter Meghan Romo. “Every conference team is a new team that we want to beat and we just want to be the best in conference. Beating them was a good start.”

The Huskies now head back to DeKalb for three matches in a row at Victor E. Court. NIU’s match Sept. 28 against Ball State will be the first of the three contests. It will also mark one month since the last time the Huskies got to play in front of a home crowd.

“Finally we’re having a home game and we will have our fans there,” Romo said. “We play the best when we’re at home.”