‘Somebody grab a broom’ – NIU volleyball defeats Toledo


NIU’s Lauren Wicinski, Kristin Hoffman, and Amber Walker celebrate after a kill in their game against Toledo Friday night.

By Abbe Barton

Somebody grab a broom.

This weekend, NIU proved they could not be stopped as the women’s volleyball team swept both opponents.

Friday evening, the Huskies (23-5, 12-2 MAC) took on Toledo (9-16, 4-9 MAC).

NIU defeated the Rockets in three sets, marking its 15th sweep of the season and extended its season-long winning streak to 10 matches. Although Toledo scored the first point, NIU quickly came back and gained the lead for the rest of the set.

A kill from NIU junior Mary Kurisch ended the set 25-22.

The Huskies didn’t give the Rocket’s a chance in the second set either. A kill made by sophomore Sarah Angelos led to a 9-3 NIU run to the end of the set. The Rocket’s could not catch up, leaving the Huskies to take the second set 25-17.

The momentum kept on going into the third set, as NIU took a 13-4 lead out of the gate. NIU finished the game 25-16.

“It was exciting, and we all were having fun,” said sophomore Lauren Wicinski. “We all just wanted another sweep.”

Wicinski led the Huskies with 15 kills and hit .344. Kurisch recorded 12 kills and a .579 hitting percentage as well as four aces.

The Huskies finally put an end to its five match losing streak to Ball State (22-5,11-3 MAC) Saturday.

“The energy tonight was ridiculous,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “This match was tabbed as one of the top matches in the country by AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association). We had a really good, energetic crowd for both sides. Every play was loud, crazy, fun and intense. It’s awesome to play in Victor E. Court when it’s like this.”

NIU seniors Kristin Hoffman and Allison McGlaughlin were honored Saturday as a part of senior night.

This was the first match since 2007 that NIU won on a senior night.

“Everything getting ready for this night we were excited about,” Hoffman said. “We were excited warming up, excited when we came out on the court, and it carried through in all three sets of the match.”

Hoffman turned in 44 assists, while McGlaughlin recorded nine kills and seven digs.

In the first set, NIU held nothing back and took a quick 5-0 lead with the help of a block and three kills from Angelos. Ball State never caught up, as the Huskie’s ended with a score of 25-19.

NIU was down for the majority of the second set.

Trailing 20-16, Wicinski grabbed a pair of kills, as Ball State recorded three errors but still left the Huskies down 24-23.

A McGlaughlin kill ended the second set 26-24. The Cardinals took the first point of the second set and would remain in the lead until the end.

As the Huskies trailed 15-21, they came back with a 10-4 run. With NIU now in the lead and the score 24-23, NIU junior Justine Schepler served up an ace and ended the third and final match 25-23. The Huskies improved their record at home to 11-3.

The Huskies are now tied with Western Michigan for the first place in the MAC West division.

“It’s huge at this part of the season to stay positive,” McGlaughlin said. “It’s an amazing win since Kristin and I have been here, we haven’t had a win on senior night, so that was awesome. At this point it is important to win, and they were in the top with us, making this win even better.”

Ball state head coach Steve Shondell declined to comment after the matches.