Volleyball snaps skid, defeats CMU

Huskies knock off Chippewas 3-1, ending a four-game losing streak


James Krause | Northern Star

The NIU volleyball team celebrates after a kill against WIU on Aug. 27. The Huskies record now sits at 11-11.

By Waleed Alamieh, Sports Reporter

DeKALB —  The women’s volleyball team snapped their four-game losing streak with a win on Saturday over the Central Michigan University Chippewas. 

The Huskies were able to take the second game of a back-to-back against the Chippewas in the team’s first Midwest American Conference series of the season. 

The Huskies got off to a rough start, scoring only 14 points in the first set. 

“Unfortunately, I think we just had a lot of carry over from the last night to tonight,” head coach Ray Gooden said. “We knew Central was gonna play harder to defend their court, and we just didn’t do the best job of responding to their charge.”

Much of the team’s offensive success comes from their outside hitters who struggled in the first set. The team’s outside hitters, junior Katie Jablonski and freshman Nikolette Nedic, combined for a total of three kills in the first set. 

The team got into a better offensive rhythm in the second set. The Huskies were able to get more balanced scoring from all positions on the court. Jablonksi and Nedic bounced back, adding in seven kills for the set combined. The play of middle blockers, senior Jasmine Kemp and freshman Charli Atiemo, is what opened things up offensively for the Huskies. 

“For us, balance is always one of our keys to success,” Gooden said. “If we find balance on the outside and in the middle, we feel we have a good chance, and it was good to see our middles step up in spots where our team needed it.”

With the balanced attack, the Huskies were able to win a hard fought second set 25-23. 

The third set was all about grit for the Huskies after the Chippewas got off to an early 9-3 lead that forced a Huskies timeout. During the time out, Gooden stressed to the team to “stay positive and poised,“ urging the team to come out aggressive. 

The pep talk worked as the Huskies went on a 13-4 run out of the timeout to take the lead. The Chippewas were able to tie the game at 24-24 after a kill by CMU freshman outside Linnea Willer. The Huskies responded with back-to-back kills by Jablonski and Atiemo to give the team a 26-24 win. 

The Huskies again went down early in the fourth, trailing 7-3 early on. The team slowly chipped away at the lead until they were able to tie the set at 16-16. After tying the game, the Huskies were able to control. NIU scored three out of the next four to take a 20-17 lead. The teams  traded points back and forth until Jablonski was able to put the Chippewas away with her 18th kill of the game with a final score of 25-22.  

The Huskies return to action with another MAC matchup at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the road against the University of Western Michigan Broncos.