The Huskies improved to 17-5, 6-2 in the MAC, with their fifth consecutive win. The victory also bumped NIU’s road record up to 8-1 in 2011.
“Anytime we can win on the road like this it’s good for the group,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden of his team’s 2-0 weekend at Akron and Buffalo. “It was the longest trip of the year distance-wise for us. We came out with good energy tonight. We continue to learn to get better, and it was good for us to do it with two solid performances this weekend.
“Every match has its own story line. It’s a really good thing for the girls to string along wins like this. It really helps their confidence.”
The Huskies set the tone early by opening up leads of 9-3 and 10-2 in the first two sets, respectively. With momentum on its side, NIU would win both sets 25-14.
“We served and passed really well in this match,” Gooden said. “We had noticeable serving runs in the first and second sets; multiple people had positive serving runs. We did a good job with our passing to stay in system.”
In a closely contested third set, the Bulls (9-13, 2-6 MAC) avoided a match point with a kill to knot the game at 24. Then Buffalo used an ace to create a set point of its own. The teams exchanged points after that until back-to-back kills from Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) gave NIU a 28-27. A Buffalo kill later, McGlaughlin answered with another kill to put the Huskies ahead 29-28. Then a Bulls attack error ended the match 30-28 for NIU’s ninth consecutive win over the Bulls.
“Buffalo did a good job of blocking in the third set,” said Gooden. “It was a tight one, and we had a chance to win it after going back and forth late, and we pulled it out.”
NIU posted a 38-31 kills advantage while outhitting the Bulls .277-.069. Also helping NIU to its 12th sweep of the season was a 9-5 aces edge.
The Huskies return to action next weekend with home contests against Kent State and Ohio. NIU faces KSU Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 PM CT and OU Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7 PM.
For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.