Sept. 14, 2012
WATCH: Match Highlights | Postgame Interview with Coach Chan
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: Northwestern 3, Saint Louis 0
Records: NU (10-0, 0-0 Big Ten), Saint Louis (5-7, 0-0 Atlantic-10)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Sept. 16-- vs. Western Michigan (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 1 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No Northwestern team has opened the volleyball season with 10 consecutive wins; that is until the 2012 squad accomplished the feat with a 3-0 sweep of the Saint Louis Billikens at the 31st Wildcat Classic Friday night, 25-15, 25-15, 25-12.
The previous best start in program annals belonged to the 1987 squad, which won its first nine tilts. This year's Wildcats equaled that mark Friday morning with a 3-0 win over Delaware and reached new heights with their second win of the day against SLU. In fact, Northwestern did not drop a single set on Friday, winning each frame by at least eight points.
As they did in the morning session, the 'Cats came out firing in the first set. NU grabbed an early 10-3 lead and never looked back, winning 25-15.
Sophomore Yewande Akanbi paced the offense with a match-high five kills in the premiere set. As a team, the Wildcats registered 14 kills in the first frame with 12 of them coming off of spectacular assists from senior setter Madalyn Shalter.
The Billikens regrouped and kept the second set much tighter in the early going. The score was tied at five points apiece when the 'Cats put together a four-point to create some distance. Saint Louis would come no closer than four points throughout the remainder of the frame. Northwestern won by an identical score to the first set in the second, 25-15.
|[Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan]|
Saint Louis hung tough early in the third set, but that game followed a similar blueprint to the last. This time with the score knotted at eight, Akanbi put down another kill, followed by terminations from Monica McGreal and Savannah Paffen to put NU in the lead for good. NU won the third set by its largest margin of the night, 13 points. The victory was sealed by Katie Dutchman's match-high 13th kill and Shalter's second of the night.
Dutchman's 13 kills marked the second-best total of her career. She had an attacking percentage of .455 (13K-3E-22TA) Friday night and added three blocks and an ace to her impressive stat line. Akanbi finished with nine kills, while Stephanie Holthus tallied a match-best 14 digs and a pair of aces.
Christine Janci made her collegiate debut for Northwestern in the third set Friday evening and she made it count with an impressive dig.
Earlier Friday, NU faced minimal resistance as it breezed past Delaware, 3-0. The Wildcats hit .365 (42-7-96) as a team in that match while holding the Blue Hens to a clip of .093 (30-20-107). Holthus registered a match-high 14 kills and Shalter tallied her seventh double-double of the season behind 36 assists and 10 digs.
Saint Louis and Delaware will play the only Wildcat Classic match scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Northwestern will wrap-up the nonconference portion of its schedule with finale of the tournament on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. against Western Michigan. The Broncos are also 2-0 at the Wildcat Classic thus far.
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