The Northern Illinois University volleyball team dominated each phase of the match Saturday night in a 3-0 sweep of the Kent State Golden Flashes.
NIU (13-11, 5-5 MAC) held significant advantages in most statistical categories against KSU (10-13, 4-6 MAC), including kills (39-30), attack percentage (.393-.068), service aces (7-0) and blocks (8-2). The victory also marked the first time since Sept. 14, 2012, that the Huskies have held an opponent to under 20 points in all three sets of a match.
“What a great game for our group,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “I thought we came in with a real good plan in mind and we did real good job of taking care of our side. It was a real good team effort in all phases tonight.”
After splitting the first eight points of the set, the Huskies broke the first stanza open with a 5-0 run – which included three MacKenzie Roddy kills, along with a kill and block solo from Emily Paschke – to move ahead of the Golden Flashes, 9-4.
From there, NIU gave KSU no chance of coming back by extending that early advantage to 17-7. From there, the Huskies were able to coast to an easy 25-12 first set triumph.
Things took a similar turn in the second set when NIU turned a 4-4 stalemate into an 11-6 edge courtesy of three Golden Flash errors and some timely kills from Roddy and Mary Grace Kelly. The Huskies forged on and built their lead up to 10 at 18-8 behind a 5-0 run keyed by a strong defensive effort from the front line. That enabled NIU to coast to another set win, this time at 25-13, to take a two-sets-to-none lead into the half.
KSU kept NIU on their heels for a good part the third set, as they used an 8-3 run to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 9-7 lead.
Undeterred, the Huskies methodically turned the momentum back in their favor, as kills from Sarah Angelos and Kelly helped NIU in a 7-2 run to make it a 14-11 Huskie advantage. That rally effectively killed any chances of a Golden Flash comeback with the Huskies stretching their edge to 20-14 late en route to a 25-18 third set win to clinch the sweep.
NIU got a big boost in the clinching set from their serving, as they totaled five in the third alone.
Statistically, Angelos powered the NIU offense with 13 kills and a .591 attack percentage to go along with four blocks. In addition, Roddy tallied 11 kills in the match, while she and Paschke each recorded three blocks.
The Huskies’ four-match homestand continues Thursday when they host MAC West rival Western Michigan for a special 6 p.m. start. The match will be broadcast live on Time Warner SportsChannel and ESPN3, along with being shown on tape-delay on Comcast SportsNet Chicago beginning at 8 p.m.
For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.