NIU bests Toledo to open weekend

The Huskies carry momentum into a Saturday rematch after beating the Rockets 3-1 on Friday at Victor E. Court


Khavon Thomas | Northern Star

The volleyball team celebrates after scoring a point against Toledo on Oct. 22.

Carlos Finney Jr., Sports Reporter

DeKALB — The women’s volleyball team took home a victory against the conference rival University of Toledo Rockets, winning 3-1 in front of their home crowd Friday.

The first set got off to a back-and-forth start with a score of 10-10 early on. That trend continued as the two teams were attached to the hip midway through the match.

The two teams went toe-to-toe with neither looking to give an edge as the set would continue beyond game point with a score of 27-27. The Huskies finally got two points separation on Toledo, winning the set 29-27 and taking a 1-0 lead in the match. Junior outside hitter Katie Jablonski led the way with six kills. 

Volleyball head coach Ray Gooden spoke on the very intense first set and how the Huskies were able to come away with a set win against a very competitive Toledo team.

“We probably had four to five chances to win that first set, and we still stayed patient,”  Gooden said. “We were able to handle the ball inside out and then we were able to take advantage of our opportunities to win that first set.”

The second set saw Toledo get off to an 8-5 lead. The Huskies battled their way back to even the score at 11-11. From this point, the two teams traded points until Toledo was able to take momentum and a three point lead to have a score of 17-14. 

The Huskies came back to tie the score once again near the end of the match, making it 20-20. Toledo took a one point lead, but then the Huskies went on a 4-0 run to end the set to win, with a score 25-22 to take a 2-0 set lead. 

Jablonski led the way with eight kills, followed by freshman middle blocker Charli Atiemo with four. Senior setter Grace Balensiefer did her part, finishing the set with 20 assists. 

In the third set, Toledo took the lead to start once again 4-1. Toledo built on this lead, stretching it to five midway through the match with a score of 18-13. 

Toledo cut an NIU comeback short by winning the set 25-22 to force a fourth set.

In the fourth set, it was dead even at 10-10 with both teams looking to take momentum. The Huskies were the team to do so, going on a 4-0 run to take a lead of 15-12. Toledo flipped the script by going on a 3-0 run during the set to tie the game at 16-16. 

Later on  as the Huskies were in the middle of regaining control of the set, a controversial pair of reviews by the officials took a point away from the Huskies and gave one to Toledo to make the score 23-22, instead of 24-21 that would have given the Huskies game point. 

This did not stop the Huskies though as they won the next two points to win the set 25-22 and the match 3-1. 

The Huskies next game is against Toledo once again at 4 p.m. Saturday at Victor E. Court.