The Northern Illinois University volleyball team earned a big road win Friday in Mount Pleasant, Mich., by sweeping the Central Michigan Chippewas, 3-0.
With the win over CMU (11-14, 5-8 MAC), NIU (16-11, 8-5 MAC) officially punched their ticket to the Mid-American Conference Tournament in two weeks. In addition, Huskie senior Sarah Angelos broke the NIU record during the match by playing in her 495th career set.
“I thought we had a great team effort tonight battling another tough West opponent,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden.
The Huskies claimed the early edge with a 3-1 lead keyed by two kills from Mary Grace Kelly. CMU quickly tied it up at 3-3, setting up a back-and-forth that resulted in a 9-9 tie.
NIU moved back ahead with a 4-0 run, as a Kelly kill, Kayla Zeno ace, Angelos kill and a CMU error made the tally 13-9. Though the Chippewas fought back to within 13-12 and 17-16, the Huskies took control of the set when Jenna Radtke got two kills and a combo block with Emily Paschke to make it 21-17. Despite again letting the CMU back to within one point at 22-21, two Chippewa miscues and a Kelly kill clinched the first for NIU, 25-21.
The two sides battled blow for blow early in the second until a 4-1 run Chippewa run made it an 8-5 CMU lead. However, the Huskies turned things around quickly with an extended 7-1 run – headlined by two kills and two blocks – to take the score to 12-9.
From there, NIU grabbed a stranglehold in the set with a 6-0 run, with kills coming exclusively from MacKenzie Roddy and Radtke, to make it a 19-11 lead. The Chippewas made a threat late, but the Huskie offense was too much, taking a dominant 25-18 win.
Neither side could break away at the outset of the third set.
That all ended when the Huskie offense erupted for a 9-0 run to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 15-7 lead. During that offensive explosion, Kelly accounted for four of NIU’s five spikes, while CMU committed four errors. Though three consecutive points got the hosts to within five, the Huskies extended their edge back to eight points at 21-13. Another Chippewa run followed, but the Huskies proved to be too much en route to a 25-19 third set win and the sweep.
Roddy led the Huskies with 13 kills on the night, while Radtke and Kelly each contributed 11 spikes in the win. On defense, Justine Schepler recorded 15 digs on the night, while Angelos netted three blocks.
For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.