Volleyball falls to Northwestern to close NIU Invitational

Mary Grace Kelly
Mary Grace Kelly

With its win, Northwestern claimed the NIU Invitational title with a perfect 3-0 record. Colorado finished second at 2-1, NIU claimed third at 1-2 and Presbyterian finished fourth at 0-4.

“I thought it was tough coming in after a heartbreaking loss early in the afternoon against Colorado,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “I thought Northwestern was really charged. They came in undefeated and had a chance to win the tournament. They were just the aggressors tonight and hats off to those guys, I thought they did a really good job.

“At times we played really well, we just understand now about negative runs in a volleyball game and in a volleyball match. I think we had a lot of learning from it, I thought we had a lot of positives from the weekend, it’s now just about solidifying those things and being more stable in the future.”

Northwestern built an early 8-2 lead in the opening set, forcing a NIU timeout. The Huskies trimmed the Northwestern advantage to as little as three, 22-19, but the Wildcats scored three of the final four points to take the set, 25-20. Northwestern hit over .400 for much of the opening set, finishing with a .333 hitting percentage in taking the 1-0 lead.

The Wildcats had another quick start to the second set, opening with a 6-2 advantage. NIU climbed back within a point, 6-5, behind an ace by junior Alexis Gonzalez (Fresno, Calif./Bullard) and a kill by Roddy, before Northwestern pushed its lead back to seven, 16-9. The Huskies battled back to within two points, 20-18, but once again the Wildcats had an answer, scoring five of the next six points to take the set, 25-19. Northwestern hit .433 in the second set while holding the Huskies to a .000 hitting percentage in the set.

Alexis Gonzalez
Alexis Gonzalez

NIU jumped out to a 7-3 advantage in the third set before Northwestern used an 11-2 run to pull in front by five, 14-9. A pair of aces by Gonzalez, a kill by senior middle blocker Emily Paschke (Winfield, Ill./West Chicago Community) and an ace by Roddy helped the Huskies cut the lead back to just one, 15-14, but the Wildcats then scored five-straight to extend the lead back to six, 20-14. NIU climbed back within two, 24-22, but a kill by Symone Abbott completed the sweep for Northwestern.

Freshman libero Anna Brereton (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) had a team-high 11 digs while Gonzalez led NIU with 25 assists.

Roddy was named to the NIU Invitational All-Tournament team, along with Yewande Akanbi, the tournament MVP, Taylor Tashima and Katie Dutchman of Northwestern as well as Taylor Simpson and Nicole Edelman of Colorado.

The Huskies will return to action next weekend when they travel to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa State Challenge. NIU will face Tennessee and Nebraska-Omaha on Friday, Sept. 5, before closing the tournament against host Iowa State on Saturday, Sept. 6.

For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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