June 16, 2013
EUROPEAN TOUR CENTRAL
MARIBOR, Slovenia -- Northwestern got its first taste of international competition late Sunday afternoon as it took on the Croatian National Team at the Dras Center in Maribor, Slovenia.
The talented Croatian squad got the best of the Wildcats on the scoreboard Sunday, but the final score didn't tell the whole story. Northwestern dropped the four sets that were played, but the team produced plenty of highlights and positive plays in the friendly match.
The 'Cats grabbed an early 11-10 advantage in the first frame, before Croatia went on a four-point run to grab the lead for good. Northwestern trailed early on in the second set, but produced a run of its own to slice the deficit to two points at 17-15. Unfortunately, that was as close as they would come in the frame.
The third set followed a similar blueprint to the first with the 'Cats building a slim 12-11 lead before Croatia came roaring back en route to a 25-19 triumph. In the fourth and final set, NU fought off three or four match points to cut its deficit to three points before a kill from Croatia sealed the set.
Though official statistics were not kept for the contest, there are several positive metrics to report for Chicago's Big Ten Team. Yewande Akanbi led the Wildcats with 12 kills, while Savannah Paffen chipped in with nine kills and a pair of blocks. Hannah Crippen handed out 35 assists in the match and Caroline Niedospial tallied a team-high 11 digs. Abbie Kraus and Monica McGreal each notched multiple aces for Northwestern.
The Wildcats will play their second match of the tour on Monday against the Slovenia National Team. That contest will also be held at the Dras Center.
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