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    Late Rally Comes Up Short As Wildcats Fall in Five To Buckeyes

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Naomi Johnson had a career-best five service aces to go along with 10 kills and eight blocks.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Naomi Johnson had a career-best five service aces to go along with 10 kills and eight blocks.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Oct. 22, 2010

    Ohio State 3, Northwestern 2
    Site: Welsh-Ryan Arena • Evanston, Ill.
    Records: Northwestern (15-5, 5-4 Big Ten); Ohio State (17-6, 5-5 Big Ten)
    Up Next: vs. No. 9 Penn State • Saturday, Oct. 23 • 7 p.m.

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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Against Ohio State, Northwestern put together a number of impressive rallies. Unfortunately, the final rally of the night came up a little bit short as the Wildcats fell in a nail biting 22-25, 25-19, 25-23, 24-26, 11-15 decision to the Buckeyes at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

    "We were too inconsistent tonight, and in the end that is what cost us," said head coach Keylor Chan. "It is something we have been working on, and there were times tonight where we looked like we were making strides. But there were other times that showed how much work we have left to do. It's a tough loss to take, especially the way we lost, but now we just have to learn moving forward."

    Naomi Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy) played a key role for the Wildcats all night, finishing with 10 kills, eight blocks and five service aces, the latter of which is a new career-best. Madalyn Shalter (Ottawa, Ohio/Ottawa-Glandorf) also posted a career-best five service aces on the night, helping the Wildcats to 12 on the night.

    Stephanie Holthus (Burlington, Ill./Central) led the offensive attack for Northwestern, finishing with a team-best 14 kills along with seven digs and a pair of blocks. Sabel Moffett (Temecula, Calif./Chapparal) added 10 kills and three blocks for the Wildcats, upping her career total to 990 and leaving her 10 kills shy of becoming the 19th member of the Northwestern 1,000-kill club.

    Elyse Glab (Chicago, Ill./Resurrection) dished out 52 assists on the night, her sixth 50-plus assist performance of the season. Defensively, Julie Chin (Naperville, Ill./North) led the 'Cats with 15 digs on the night, complemented by 13 from Shalter. Alex Ayers (Playa del Rey, Calif./Marymount) just missed cracking the double-digit dig plateau, finishing with nine on the night.

    Set one set the tone for what would prove to be an incredibly competitive night of volleyball as Northwestern and Ohio State combined for 13 ties and 10 lead changes in the opening stanza. The Wildcats held a 20-17 edge late, but an 8-2 run down the stretch for the Buckeyes gave Ohio State the early edge with a 25-22 decision.

    Northwestern would grab the early momentum in set two, using a 10-2 run to break the set open at 16-8. The Wildcats would extend that advantage to nine at 24-15, but the Buckeyes weren't about to go down quietly, reeling off four-straight points to cut the gap to five before a kill from Shalter sealed the 25-19 victory for the 'Cats.

    Both teams put together some solid runs in set three, but ultimately found themselves tied at 20 late in the stanza. Northwestern would get two crucial points off a kill and a block from Johnson, and then would maintain that edge down the stretch to take control of the match with a 25-23 decision.

    Set four appeared to be a breeze for Ohio State as the Buckeyes built a 19-11 lead and led 22-15 late. But the Wildcats showed their resiliency, reeling off eight unanswered points to claim the lead at 23-22. Northwestern ultimately was serving for set point at 24-23, but a kill from Katie Dull and back-to-back service aces from Emily Danks, the nation's leader, gave Ohio State the 26-24 decision.

    The late stretch in set four seemed to be the catalyst the Buckeyes needed as they would open up a 9-6 lead in set five and never looked back. The Wildcats were able to pull to within two at 12-10, only to see Ohio State record three of the last four points to seal the victory.

    Northwesten will have little time to dwell on the defeat as it now sets its sights on ninth-ranked and three-time defending national champion Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 16-4 on the year and 6-3 in Big Ten play after sweeping Ohio State Wednesday night. Saturday will also serve as Alumnae Night as Northwestern will welcome back nearly 50 of its former players. Opening serve at Welsh-Ryan Arena is set for 7 p.m.

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