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EVANSTON, Ill. --
Despite losing to No. 13 Stanford, 3-0, in the closing match of the Wildcat Classic, Northwestern's Head Coach Keylor Chan was pleased with some of the things he saw from his team on the court Saturday night.
"I was very proud of the way our girls played tonight," Chan said. "Stanford played at a level that most teams in the country aren't playing at right now, and we played them well." Chan said.
Freshman outside hitter Courtnie Paulus had a solid offensive performance, recording a team-high 13 kills with a .333 hitting percentage for the `Cats. Paulus totaled 38 kills over the course of the Wildcat Classic, earning all-tournament honors.
Another bright spot for NU was freshman Lindsay Anderson, who had six kills in limited action off the bench for the `Cats.
"It was good to see Lindsay playing with a lot of energy and like I know she can," Chan said. "When she plays with confidence, she's very tough."
When Chan subbed Anderson into the match in the middle of game one, a section of the crowd waving signs for the Wilmette, Ill. native would go crazy. Anderson fed off the energy as the true freshman looked extremely at ease against the top-15 team.
NU gave The Cardinal a close game in the second frame on the strength of seven kills from Paulus. With Stanford sitting on a 23-14 lead, Chan called for a timeout and the `Cats responded when play resumed by going on a 4-1 run, causing Stanford to burn a timeout of its own.
But the story of the match, and the tournament for that matter, was the play of Stanford's Ogonna Nnamani. Nnamani was the unanimous MVP selection of the Wildcat Classic, and showed why against NU by recording 18 kills with a through-the-roof hitting percentage of .548. She only had one error in 31 attack attempts. While Nnamani supplied the offense, The Cardinal as a whole played dominating defense, posting a total of 11 blocks in three games.
Seeing that high level of competition is exactly what Chan was after though before heading into a tough Big Ten season next week against Penn State and Ohio State.
"Playing against a team like Stanford was an opportunity to get better and I think we did that," Chan said. "We had moments tonight when we played very well. We have to work on staying focused and not commit as many errors, but that will come as we train and get better."
Wildcat Classic All-Tournament Team
MVP - Ogonna Nnamani - Stanford University
Courtnie Paulus - Northwestern University
Kristin Richards - Stanford University
Jennifer Hucke - Stanford University
Crystal Towler - Western Kentucky University
Caron Blotch - Western Kentucky University