Volleyball serves Air Force loss in straight sets

Huskies open up 2021 season 2-1.


James Krause

Junior outside hitter Katie Jablonski (right) attempts to spike the ball over a a wall of Air Force players in the Huskies 3-0 win at Victor E. Court on Aug. 28.

By James Krause

DeKALB — The volleyball team finished their series of Huskie Invitational games with a win Saturday over the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons in three straight sets of 25-17, 25-21 and 25-19.

Junior outside hitter Katie Jablonski added 10 kills to bring her tournament total to 38. In just her third college game, freshman middle blocker Charli Atiemo had eight kills.

Head coach Ray Gooden highlighted the service of the Huskies, who had nine aces including four from Jablonski.

“We did a really good job of serving and passing today,” said Gooden in an Aug. 28 NIU Athletics news release. “We had great opportunities come from our serve and I thought we did a good job handling their tough serve. It was nice to see us put pressure on them with our serve consistently.”

NIU jumped out to a huge lead early in the first set, getting to an 11-4 lead before the Falcons called timeout. Four service errors by the Air Force and four service aces by the Huskies helped create the 25-17 set one win.

The Huskies were able to mount an 8-1 run late in the second set to propel them to a 25-21 win. Jablonski scored three service aces over the course of the finishing run with Atiemo scoring the set-point.

In the third and deciding 25-19 set, NIU strung together a 6-0 run early to pull away from Air Force. The Huskies finished the game off with a block by senior middle blocker Jasmine Kemp and freshman outside hitter Nikolette Nedic, the 11th team block of the match for NIU.

The Huskies will have an away-and-home series with the Eastern Illinois University Panthers next week, starting 5 p.m. Thursday in Charleston, Illinois. The Huskies host EIU 6 p.m. Sept. 4 at Victor E. Court .