The Northern Illinois volleyball team started the Huskie Invitational right Friday afternoon in Victor E. Court with a solid 3-0 win over the George Washington Colonials.
The win boosts the Huskies’ record to 6-6, while GW falls to 5-7. The key to the Huskie win came in the front line, as NIU outhit the Colonials, .295-.167, and outblocked GW, 7-4, in the three-set sweep.
“I thought we had a really good team effort this afternoon,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “We were able to do some of the things that we take a lot of pride in, especially from the serving line and how we defend. It was nice to have a positive start against a team that won earlier in the day.”
The Huskies staked out a quick 3-0 lead in the opening set, only to have the Colonials respond with five-straight of their own to make it a 5-3 NIU deficit.
Northern equalized the match again at 5-5, leading to an exchange of points all the way to 15-15, when two GW errors and a Sarah Angelos kill set NIU up with an 18-15 lead. After a Colonial kill, the Huskies scored four more points – highlighted by kills from Alexis Gonzalez and MacKenzie Roddy – to extend the advantage to 23-16 and coast to a 25-18 set one win.
NIU once again came out fast in the second set with another 3-0 lead.
However, this time the Huskies staved off the Colonial comeback and gradually extended the lead up to 13-7 behind hot hitting from the front line. However, GW chipped away at the lead and got within one point at 16-15. NIU extended their lead back up to 20-16 with two kills from Jenna Radtke. Yet, the Colonials battled back again and took a 24-23 lead and had set point with the serve. However, Angelos’ back-to-back kills and an Angelos-Gonzalez block swung to set to a 26-24 Huskie win.
Out of halftime, the Huskies came firing and got a fast 5-1 lead on GW. Though the Colonials snuck back to within two at 6-4, NIU’s offense was unrelenting in a 7-4 run. GW moved back to within 13-10, but the Huskies closed out the Colonials in the third set with a convincing 25-18 win. In the final set alone, NIU outhit GW, .375-.171 and scored three blocks to the Colonials’ zero, while limiting themselves to only three attack errors.
Roddy headlined the NIU offense with 16 kills and a season-best .394 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, Angelos compiled six blocks and Justine Schepler totaled 14 digs in the win.
For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.