Sept. 20, 2008
NU vs. UCLA Box
2008 Northwestern Volleyball Statistics
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With the nation's fourth-ranked team on its home court, and energized by a passionate home crowd, Northwestern stood strong against UCLA, but ultimately fell to the Bruins 3-1 (19-25, 32-30, 22-25, 21-25) at the Wildcat Classic at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The host `Cats finished second at the Classic, falling to 6-5 on the season, while UCLA improves to 10-1.
After a competitive start to the match, the Bruins began to pull away midway through, extending their lead to four at 15-11. NU would rally to within one at 17-16, but was unable to get over the hump as UCLA took the opening set 25-19. Senior Chelsy Hyser (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere) once again paced the `Cats with five kills and a block while freshman Alexandra Ayers (Playa del Rey, Calif./Marymount) added a trio of kills.
The confidence gained by Northwestern in the first set carried over into the second, as the Wildcats pounced out to a 5-2 lead. They would extend that cushion to five at 16-11, only to see the Bruins score seven of the next nine points to knot the set at 18. From that point on, it was a back and forth set as neither team was able to push their lead past one. Tied at 23 all, UCLA served for set point seven times, but was answered each time by the `Cats. A kill by Ayers tied the set at 30-30, and following an attack error she sealed the match with a service error, giving Northwestern the 32-20 victory and tying the match at a set apiece. Ayers and Hyser finished with four kills each, but it was sophomore Sabel Moffett (Temecula, Calif./Chapparal) who led the way with five to go along with a pair of blocks. Sophomore Elyse Glab (Chicago, Ill./Resurrection) dished out 13 assists and added five digs, with junior Kate Nobilio (Johnsburg, Ill./Johnsburg) anchoring the defense with nine digs.
Northwestern carried that momentum into the third set and build an early lead over UCLA, only to see the Bruins come right back with a 6-2 run to reclaim the lead at 16-12 and never looked back. The Wildcats would get to within one at 20-19, but UCLA kept the `Cats at bay, taking the set 25-22. Hyser once again was the offensive leader with four kills and was complimented by three apiece from Moffett and sophomore Brittani Gray (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore), with Moffett and sophomore Naomi Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy) registering a pair of blocks each to keep Northwestern within striking distance.
The fourth set played out similarly to the third, seeing UCLA once again jump out to the early lead at 11-5, only to see NU tie the set at 16. But it was the Bruins who staged a 9-5 run late, thanks to a pair of kills from Nellie Spicer to seal the match with the 25-21 victory. Hyser and Ayers tallied four kills each while Glab had 11 assists and Nobilio digged five balls.
For the third straight match, Hyser led the offensive charge for Northwestern with 17 kills and added a pair of blocks, with Moffett registering a dozen kills and six blocks and Ayers recording her first collegiate double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs. Glab joined Ayers in the double-double club with 38 assists and 11 digs as Nobilio finished with 20 digs on the evening.
UCLA captured the Wildcat Classic title, posting a 3-0 record, with NU finishing second at 2-1. Virginia took the third slot with its 3-0 victory over Georgetown in the Classic's finale Saturday night. The all-tournament team consisted of Georgetown's Caitlin Boland, Virginia's Shannon Davis, Moffett and Nobilio from the Wildcats and Dicey McGraw and Amanda Gill from UCLA, with the Bruins' Nellie Spicer, a Barrington, Ill. Native, capturing MVP honors.
Northwestern is now finished with its preseason schedule, and focuses its attention squarely on the challenging Big Ten race. The conference schedule begins Friday, Sept. 26, when the Wildcats face eighth-ranked Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., then travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to battle the Hawkeyes on Saturday, Sept. 27.