Sept. 29, 2012
Box Score -- Northwestern 3, Indiana 1
Site: Bloomington, Ind. (University Gymnasium)
Score: Northwestern 3, Indiana 1
Records: NU (12-3, 1-3 Big Ten), Indiana (8-8, 0-4 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, Oct. 5 -- vs. No. 1 Penn State (Evanston, Ill.), 7 p.m.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Northwestern went on the road and earned its first Big Ten victory of the season, 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-23) over the Indiana Hoosiers. The victory also extended the Wildcats' winning streak against IU to seven straight matches.
After being charged with eight attacking errors in the first set, the Wildcats were nearly flawless in the next three. Northwestern finished the match with only 11 total miscues and posted an attacking percentage of .353 for the night.
|[Interview with NU head coach Keylor Chan]|
Despite six kills from Stephanie Holthus, Northwestern was knocked off in the first set, 25-23. The Wildcats fell behind 12-8 early on, at which point five of Indiana's scores had been a direct result of NU miscues. The visitors closed the gap to a point on two occasions, at 22-23 and 23-24, late in the set thanks to a kill from Katie Dutchman and a service error on the Hoosiers, but the home team sealed the win on a kill by Jordan Haverly.
The 'Cats quickly buried the opening set as they raced to an 11-6 advantage in the second stanza. Setter Madalyn Shalter was distributing the ball across the court as Holthus, Monica McGreal and Hannah Crippen all contributed early kills. McGreal also added a service ace early in the frame.
Northwestern extended its lead six points at 19-13 when sophomore Savannah Paffen served up her first ace of the evening. Indiana would soon after scratch to within four with the help of a service, but after a timeout Shalter found Dutchman and McGreal for back-to-back kills to regain control. The second set ended when Shalter and Paffen came together to reject IU's Amelia Anderson and secure the 25-18 triumph.
Through two sets Holthus continued to show why she garnered 2012 preseason All-Big Ten accolades. In the first two games, the Burlington, Ill., native collected 11 kills on 19 swings with a single error for an eye-popping percentage of .526. The junior also had a team-best seven digs at that point.
The Wildcats set the tone in the third set by snatching a 6-1 lead with the help of kills from Holthus, Shalter and Dutchman and an ace from Abbie Kraus. The lead blossomed all the way to 10 points at 14-4 following back-to-back aces by Shalter. Northwestern fought off a handful of brief rallies, but Indiana never came closer than within five points down the stretch. The 'Cats finished the third set aggressively, 25-17, on the strength of Holthus' 14th kill of the evening.
Northwestern came out in the fourth set determined to maintain the edge. The score was tied at 11 points apiece, but the Wildcats ripped off an 11-5 run to take control at 22-16. Indiana made another late push, its strongest of the set, when NU was leading 24-19. The Hoosiers collected four straight points to pull within one, forcing Chan to call his second timeout of the run. Out of the break, IU committed its 25th and final attacking error to give the 'Cats a 25-23 set win and a 3-1 victory for the match.
Holthus led Northwestern with 21 kills to only two errors and added 12 digs, while McGreal tied her career-high with 16 kills and only two offensive mistakes of her own. Shalter handed out 44 assists, while libero Julie Chin was strong in the back once again with 12 digs.
Northwestern will return to Welsh-Ryan Arena next weekend to take on another pair of Big Ten foes. The Wildcats welcome the nation's top-ranked team, the Penn State Nittany Lions, on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. The match has been designated as a "Purple Out" and the first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive purple Northwestern Volleyball t-shirts compliments of Coke Zero. The brief homestand concludes the following evening when the 'Cats host No. 22 Ohio State at 7 p.m.
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