Sept. 6, 2003
All-America candidate Erika Lange (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg) earned MVP honors Saturday night following the final match at the 2002 Chicago Challenge. Lange led the Wildcats to a sweep of host Illinois-Chicago, which gave Northwestern a 3-0 tournament record. With the 3-0 (30-18, 30-20, 30-24) victory over UIC, the `Cats improved to 4-2 on the season.
"This tournament was exactly what we needed," said head coach Keylor Chan. "We played at an entirely different level this weekend."
Tournament MVP Lange was the team leader for the Wildcats, recording 17 kills, three block assists, two solo blocks and a career-high hitting percentage of .652. All-tournament team selection Jill Buschur (New Bremen, Ohio/New Bremen) added to the NU effort, as she notched 12 kills, three digs and a .450 hitting percentage. All-Big Ten candidate Drew Robertson (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) also earned all-tournament honors, as she led the team in assists with 43. Robertson had 16 digs and hit .500 against the Flames.
Early in the first game, UIC kept the score close, but the Wildcats went on a 4-1 run to pull away. Halfway into the game, Northwestern led by a score of 15-9. The six-point deficit was as close as UIC would come, however. The 'Cats went on an 8-2 run late in the game and secured a 30-18 victory.
The success the Purple and White experienced in the first game seemed to carry over into the second game. The two squads swapped points early, but NU went on a 4-0 run and took a 15-10 lead at the midpoint. The Flames cut the NU advantage to one, but could not claim the lead, as the Wildcats won by a score of 30-20.
Northwestern and UIC battled early, swapping points until the Wildcats went on a run to separate themselves from the Flames. On the strength of a 6-1 run, the 'Cats took a 15-12 lead in the second game. NU went on to claim a 30-24 victory.
Kristi Herrington led the Flames with eight kills, one solo block and two block assists.
The Wildcats return to action next weekend, Sept. 12-13, traveling to Miami, Fla. to take part in the Orange and Green Challenge.