The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.
|Moment No. 18
|Date||Nov. 16, 2012|
|Location||Welsh-Ryan Arena | Evanston, Ill.|
|Original Story||Relentless Wildcats Topple Michigan in Thrilling Fashion, 3-1|
|Video||Michigan Match Highlights|
|More Video||Stephanie Holthus Highlights|
|Social Media||@NUVBall | Northwestern Volleyball|
|Top 20 Countdown||Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown|
In need of a win to snap a four-match skid and keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive, Northwestern hosted the Michigan Wolverines, a team receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Friday, Nov. 16. The Wildcats rose to the challenge and responded by turning back U-M, which came to town with its own five-match winning streak, in thrilling fashion.
The 'Cats fell behind, 18-12, in the first set before ripping off a 9-3 rally to knot the score at 21 points apiece. The Wolverines eventually captured that first frame, 25-22, but that was the last time they would be victorious on this special evening. Northwestern stormed back to claim a pair of two-point wins in both the second and third sets before putting Michigan down for good with an emphatic 25-18 triumph in the fourth.
Stephanie Holthus turned in not only the best individual performance of the season, but arguably the top effort of her storied career to this point. The Burlington, Ill., native buried a career-high 28 kills and added 19 digs, four blocks and a pair of assists. She tallied 32 points in the four-set triumph and attacked at a clip of .404 during the match. Holthus was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 19 in recognition of her superior effort.
Yewande Akanbi was also in double figures offensively for Northwestern with 12 kills. Middle blockers Savannah Paffen and Katie Dutchman sent back a match-high six blocks apiece, while setter Madalyn Shalter added 46 assists and 17 digs in victory. Northwestern's back row received outstanding efforts from Julie Chin, Abbie Kraus and Monica McGreal who tallied 17, 11 and eight digs, respectively.
Northwestern fell just short of its goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament. After dropping another 3-1 decision the following evening at Illinois, Michigan reeled off six wins in a row as they made their way to the national semifinals in Louisville where they lost to Texas in five. The Longhorns would then go on to defeat Oregon to win the 2012 national championship.
Holthus' powerful performance against the Wolverines was one of many outstanding performances that she turned in for the Wildcats during her third season in Evanston. The outside hitter was named All-Big Ten and All-Mideast Region by the aforementioned AVCA. On Dec. 12, Holthus was named to the All-America Team. She recorded 487 kills in 2012, which tied her for fifth all-time in a single season at NU. Holthus notched at least 20 kills 10 times and currently ranks 10th on the school's all-time list with 1,294 terminations. She is the fourth student-athlete in program history to receive All-America recognition.
"[Holthus] is a great example of what it means to be a student-athlete at Northwestern," said NU head coach Keylor Chan. "She has put a great deal of time and effort to improve her volleyball every year and is consistently committed to success."