Volleyball swept by Broncos in season series

Huskies fall to 8-12 on season

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Northern Star File Photo

Volleyball gets swept in Western Kentucky tournament

Waleed Alamleh, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — The women’s volleyball team has had a rough stretch as of late. It lost its second game in a row Tuesday to the Western Michigan University Broncos. The Huskies fell in straight sets and have been swept by the Broncos for the season series. 

The first set of the match was the toughest of the day for the Huskies as they came out very sloppy to start. The team’s offense was almost nonexistent for most of the set, as they were only able to produce seven kills on 25 attempts for a lowly 8% hitting percentage. 

The Broncos were lighting up the Huskie defense, hitting a game-high 49% in the first set. Much of the Broncos’ offense came from the play of senior outside hitter Rachel Bontrager, who had five kills in the set as the Huskies were unable to get multiple blocks on her side. Bontrager took advantage of the one-on-one opportunity every time.

NIU struggled to keep up with the Broncos’ offensive play, going down by as much as 12 points during the set. The lack of offense from NIU  never allowed for an offensive run during the set, eventually losing 25-13. 

The second set was not much better for the Huskies, as the Broncos got out to a hot start in the game on a 7-2 run. The Huskies were able to claw back a little with the play of junior middle blocker Jasmine Kemp. Kemp had four kills in the set, including three in a row, cutting the lead to 7-5. However, the momentum shifted back to the Broncos’ favor. The Broncos’ sophomore outside Maggie King had five kills in the set and ultimately helped put the Huskies away, winning the set 25-18. 

The third set of the match was one of the better-played sets on the season for the Huskies. The Huskies kept it very competitive from the jump, as it had multiple leads throughout the set. NIU junior middle blocker Angie Gromos had a very impressive set, adding in five kills, while also bringing some much-needed energy to the Huskies’ side of the net. 

At one point in the set NIU got out to a 17-14 lead, which it could not hold. WMU went on a four-point run to take the lead, 18-17. The rest of the set was a back-and-forth affair as the Huskies would not go down without a fight. The Huskies regained the lead 22-21 after a huge block by Kemp in the middle. 

The Broncos would go on to score the four of the next five points, including the game-winning kill, which ended the set by a score of 25-23. WMU completed its 3-0 shutout, moving to 15-4 on the season, maintaining first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division.

With the loss, NIU falls to 8-12 on the season, half a game back from third place in the MAC West. The team will end its regular season starting at 4 p.m. Friday against the Ohio University Bobcats, followed by its final game 1 p.m. Saturday. Both games will take place at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb. Saturday’s game will be available for streaming on ESPN+.