Sep 6, 2013
Northwestern 3, Belmont 1
Welsh-Ryan Arena Evanston, Ill. Attendance: 302
Box Score | Box Score
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern extended its winning streak to three-straight as it grinded out its second win of the day at the Wildcat Challenge Friday evening, 3-1 (25-14, 30-32, 25-14, 25-17), against the Belmont Bruins.
The 'Cats used a balanced attack with four players scoring double-digit kills. NU also played stout defense throughout the evening as three players tallied double-digit digs and six players recorded at least one block apiece. As a team, Northwestern turned in its most efficient hitting performance of the young season with a mark of .299 and all four players with double-digit kills hit .281 or better as individuals.
"We knew it would take a total team effort tonight against Belmont and that's exactly what we saw," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "It's always a challenge to play twice in one day, especially in a warm environment like this. The girls did a great job of staying together, remaining focused and making the smart plays when it mattered most.
"We'll rest our legs tomorrow and be ready to take on a tough and talented Boise State squad late Sunday morning," added Chan.
The teams split the first 16 points of the match when the hosts went on a massive 13-3 run to build a 21-11 lead following a kill by Savannah Paffen. The Bruins called timeout to try to squash the momentum, but the Wildcats kept rolling as they posted a 25-14 victory in the opening frame. Setter Caleigh Ryan distributed the ball all over the floor as Paffen, Katie Dutchman and Kayla Morin each registered three kills in the first set.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair. So much so that the teams scored a combined 62 points as Belmont outlasted NU for a 32-30 triumph. Stephanie Holthus carried the lion's share on offense with seven kills in the second, but the Bruins evened the ledger at a set apiece.
The Wildcats came out rejuvenated following the intermission and established an early 11-4 lead in the third. The Bruins chipped away, though they would only come as close as three points the rest of they way. A kill from Dutchman made it 14-10 and Morin then served an ace to give NU a comfortable lead that soon developed into another 25-14 triumph. Paffen was a jack-of-all-trades in the third as she posted four kills on five swings, two blocks and a dig for the 'Cats.
The fourth, and ultimately final, set was controlled from the start by Northwestern. The Wildcats got another kill from Morin to make it 13-7 around the midway point, and once again they would never lose the sizable advantage. Dutchman had the honor of slamming the door on the Bruins with her 13th kill of the night to give NU a 25-17 triumph.
Holthus led Northwestern with 15 kills and added a career-high six service aces. The six points off of serve tie the All-American for fourth place with five different players in a four-set match in program annals. The fantastic feat hadn't been accomplished since Christie Gardner had six aces against DePaul on Sept. 20, 2002 until Friday.
Morin notched the second double-double of her career by adding 13 digs to go along with 12 kills. Libero Caroline Niedospial stood tall in the back row for the Wildcats as she led all players with 16 digs on the night. The redshirt sophomore also pitched in with a pair of assists and a pair of aces.
Earlier Friday the Wildcats cruised to a straight-set win over the Columbia Lions in their first match of the day. Morin led all players with a career-high 16 kills, while Holthus registered her first double-double of the season behind 12 kills and 11 digs.
Northwestern's volleyball team will be idle Saturday while its gridiron counterparts battle Syracuse next door at Ryan Field at 5 p.m.. The Wildcat Challenge will conclude Sunday when NU hosts the Boise State Broncos at 11:30 a.m. Belmont and Columbia will finish up play Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
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