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    Holthus Sets NU Record as 'Cats Cruise Past RedHawks, 3-0

    Sept. 20, 2013

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    Northwestern Northwestern 3, Miami 0
    Welsh-Ryan Arena • Evanston, Ill. • Attendance: 503

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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Stephanie Holthus' 24 kills set a Northwestern volleyball record for the most in a three-set match as the Wildcats dominated the Miami University RedHawks, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-15), at Welsh-Ryan Arena Friday night. The 'Cats also topped South Florida earlier in the day, 3-2, to open the Wildcat Classic.

    "We gave a tremendous amount of effort all day and it paid off with a pair of great wins against two tough teams," said NU head coach Keylor Chan. "This team really came together in a lot of ways today. We were in a bad spot early against South Florida and we stormed all the way back to win in five sets. That took a lot of determination and effort from every single member of our team and I'm proud the way we found a way to get it done.

    "I loved how we responded tonight against Miami in the second match," added Chan. "We kept pushing hard from the start and played probably one of our best matches of the season. This group is starting to figure itself out and they're a joy to coach."

    Holthus got her team off to a lightning-fast start Friday night. Looking to avoid a repeat of the sluggish open it had against USF in the first match, the lone senior scored four of NU's first six points as the home team race out to a 6-1 lead. Miami eventually gained the lead at 12-11 and pushed it to as many as three points at 15-12. The Wildcats would not be denied, however, as they clawed back to take a 19-18 advantage on a service ace from Kayla Morin. Northwestern finally closed the first game on back-to-back kills from Holthus and Yewande Akanbi to post a 25-22 victory.

    The second stanza was very much back-and-forth until the 'Cats asserted themselves in the late stages. Nursing a one-point lead, Maggie Burnham spurred a 6-0 run that put NU on top 23-17. Once again it was Northwestern's All-American outside hitter, Holthus, who put down yet another kill to put a purple bow on the second set with a 25-19 win.

    The Wildcats opened the third set with a 7-2 lead, but the RedHawks eventually knotted the score at nine points apiece. Burnham put the 'Cats up for good, 10-9, and the Toledo, Ohio, native later punctuated the match with another termination, giving Northwestern a 25-15 triumph and a three-set sweep of Miami.

    Monica McGreal led the Wildcats with 12 digs Friday evening. She was one of four players with double-digits in that category, joining Morin (11), Caroline Niedospial (11) and Holthus.

    NU handed MU its second loss of the day and just its third loss of the season in 11 matches. The RedHawks fell to IUPUI, in the first match of the Wildcat Classic Friday, 3-1.

    To say Holthus had a memorable day would be an understatement. On top of her double-double performance of 24 kills and 10 digs against Miami, the team captain had 27 kills and a career-high 24 digs in the win against South Florida. The Burlington, Ill., native amassed 51 kills in two matches and hit .394 in NU's two wins. She hit .426, a season-high, against Miami and the 27 kills were one shy of a career-high, set previously on Nov. 18, 2012 against Michigan.

    Holthus wasn't the only NU player to have a great duo of matches. Burnham had seven kills in the nightcap after putting down a career-high nine against USF. The redshirt sophomore hit .682 Friday as she made just one attacking mistake combined in the two matches. Akanbi also had 20 kills on the day with seven coming against Miami.

    To read the full recap of NU's win over USF Friday, click here.

    Northwestern will be idle Saturday before returning to Welsh-Ryan Arena Sunday to face the IUPUI Jaguars at 1 p.m. Both schools are 2-0 in the Wildcat Classic. Miami and South Florida will conclude their stays Saturday night against one another at 8 p.m.

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