Volleyball team splits series with Toledo, both earn first win of season

Senior middle blocker Kennedy Wallace and Junior setter Grace Balensiefer await an opponent's attack Oct. 25, 2019.

Northern Star file photo

Senior middle blocker Kennedy Wallace and Junior setter Grace Balensiefer await an opponent’s attack Oct. 25, 2019.

Abby Hostman and Jarrett Huff

DeKALB — The women’s volleyball team split a pair of matches against the University of  Toledo Rockets after a win Thursday, before getting swept Friday in DeKalb.

 

Thursday: NIU 3, Toledo 2

The Huskies scored the most points in the first and third sets with 25 points in each. Toledo scored 25 points as well in the second and fourth sets, which sent the match into a tie-breaker fifth set. 

NIU came back from a 12-13 deficit in the last set, winning the match 15-12 with a 3-0 run to end the game. 

Sophomore outside hitter Katie Jablonski led all players in the match with 20 kills, hitting .319. Kills from Jablonksi in the fifth set helped them win NIU’s first match of the season. 

The Huskies hit .163 for the match compared to the Rockets .239. 

 

Friday: Toledo 3, NIU 0

The second match in the late-week series was a contrast from the first. The match didn’t go beyond three sets, as Toledo was able to close out each match by at least four points.

NIU came out strong early in the first set 4-0, before Toledo came back and made it a 9-7 game. The Huskies recaptured the lead at 18-17 thanks to a 3-0 run sparked by junior Jasmine Kemp’s kill.

While holding a two-point lead at 21-19, the Huskies were stopped in their tracks by Toledo’s redshirt first-year Abby Erickson, who sparked a 6-0 run resulting in a 25-21 win for the Rockets.

NIU started out hot again in the second set with a 10-4 lead. Jablonski was able to get seven straight points while serving during the opening run. The Rockets clawed back into the set, trailing the Huskies 16-14. NIU senior Kennedy Wallace earned a kill to make it a 17-14 game. The three-point gap didn’t last long, as a 7-0 run from Toledo put the Rockets on top 21-17.

Both teams traded points back-and-forth, resulting in another 25-21 set victory for Toledo, putting the Rockets up 2-0 in the match.

From there on, Toledo opened up the third and final set with a 6-0 run. A Jablonski kill helped bring the Huskies to within two at 11-9, before the Rockets jumped out to another six-point lead at 16-10.

Toledo jumped out to a 10-point lead at 22-12 and didn’t let NIU get within six points before taking the set at 25-18. The Rockets hit .294 in the match, while NIU was only able to muster .147. Toledo’s first-year Taylor Alt led the match with 17 kills. It was the team’s first match win of the season.

The Huskies’ record sits at 1-3 on the season after an 0-2 start. The Rockets come out of the weekend with a similar 1-3 record.

NIU returns to the court for a 5 p.m. Thursday match against the Central Michigan Chippewas, followed by another match against CMU 1 p.m. Friday. Both matches will take place in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.