The Northern Illinois University volleyball team opened the weekend with a convincing win Friday, downing Akron in a 3-0 sweep.
The Huskies (14-7, 7-0 MAC) extended their win streak to seven with an all-around effort, posting a .366 attack percentage and holding the Zips to a -.027 average – the lowest average allowed in a single match by NIU in at least five years.
NIU also served up eight aces in the victory.
“It was a good, positive team win tonight,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “We did a really good job of working together and doing good things with our serve, and our serve helped with our blocking on defense and our offensive side, as well. It’s a good team win. It’s a positive start to the homestand as we get ready for another tough match tomorrow.”
NIU grabbed the upper hand at the onset of the opening stanza, as two kills from Mackenzie Roddy (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon), a Roddy block and an Emily Paschke (Winfield, Ill./West Chicago Community) put the Huskies at a quick 6-1 advantage.
The Huskies’ serving prowess behind Alexis Gonzalez (Fresno, Calif./Bullard) extended that lead to 10-2. Yet, the Zips pushed back, using some NIU miscues to get back within 11-8. That all the closer the visitors would get, though, as a kill from Lauren Zielinski (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) ended the Akron comeback and the Huskies coasted to a 25-15 set one victory. While the NIU offense hit .306 in the set, the Huskies also held the Zips to a -.136 percentage.
The Huskies got off to a similar fast start in the second, using kills from Jenna Radtke (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson), Paschke and Roddy to go along with a Radtke ace to claim a 5-0 lead. After trading points, NIU used a 4-0 run to move out to a 12-4 edge. Akron threatened to get back into the set, but the Huskies stifled any threat from the Zips, ending the frame with a .414 attack percentage. For good measure, NIU capped the set on a 4-0 run that included back-to-back aces from Gonzalez to take the set, 25-15.
NIU once again set the tone in the third set, using a kill from Zielinski and blocks from Shelby Seurer (Delano, Minn./Delano) and Mary Grace Kelly (Strongsville, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) to stake out a 3-0 lead. Akron quickly closed the gap to 4-4, but kills from Kelly and Gonzalez coupled with a Paige Dacanay (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge) ace put NIU back up, 8-4. A 4-0 Zip rally moments later put Akron back in the set at 12-10. However, two Akron service errors, a Roddy ace and consecutive spikes from Zielinski closed the door on a Zip rally, as the Huskies cruised to a 25-16 victory and the sweep.
Roddy paced the NIU offense with 13 kills on the night, while Radtke had seven spikes and a career-best .778 hitting percentage. Additionally, Gonzalez notched 33 assists and four aces in the win. On defense, Anna Brereton (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) had 11 digs and Radtke, Paschke and Zielinski each tallied two blocks.
NIU is back in action at 7:30 p.m. today when they host Buffalo in Victor E. Court. The match will also be the Huskies’ Alumni Night and Breast Cancer Awareness Night. For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.