By Tim Foley, news staff
The Northeastern University women’s volleyball team pulled out its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) win on Friday at home against Elon University but followed with a tough four-set loss against the College of William & Mary on Sunday.
After losing a 3-2 battle against Hofstra University on Wednesday, the Huskies rebounded against Elon. Northeastern packed Cabot with 410 fans in attendance for Friday’s match.
“It’s such a big difference when we have a fanbase here,” junior setter Jamie Bredahl said. “Just the crowd and the cheering and the noise and having people who support our program, it’s really helpful, especially when we play good teams.”
The Northeastern women felt the energy in the first set, accumulating a 14-7 lead. The Husky attack generated six kills over the stretch. Bredahl added three assists and a service ace. She leads the team in both categories this season.
The Huskies maintained a comfortable lead and finished the set 25-19.
Despite a 6-1 Northeastern run to tie the score in the second, Elon bounced back, winning 25-21 and evening the match at one set apiece.
The third frame turned into a marathon when the score was knotted at 25 on an Elon service error.
The teams exchanged points until outside hitter Brigitte Burcescu stepped up to serve. After two clean serves from the sophomore and two Elon attack errors, the Huskies won the set 29-27.
The next set was crucial for the Northeastern women. One set away from an important home win, the Huskies knew they couldn’t leave the door open for Elon.
Six different Huskies landed at least one kill in the set. Burcescu and junior middle hitter Caterina Rosander proved to be terminal, combining for six kills.
Elon put up a fight, tying the score at 24, but Bredahl assisted a Burcescu kill and added one of her own. The strong play by Bredahl lifted the Huskies to a 26-24 win and helped seal the four-set victory.
Bredahl and fellow setter Kristen Walding each totaled 19 assists in the match.
“I love it,” Bredahl said of the team’s 6-2 system. “That’s what I came to college to do, to set a 6-2 and be able to hit and be a threat in the front row, so it’s really working out right now. We’re starting to get more chemistry as the season goes on.”
Sophomore middle blocker Carmen Costa led the team with nine kills in the match, and the Huskies improved to 1-1 against league opponents.
Sunday’s game against William & Mary was more of a struggle for the Huskies. With little time to rest between games, the Northeastern women lacked some of the energy they had against Elon.
“Definitely physical tiredness comes into play when you have three games at home within five days, but that’s no excuse,” Bredahl said. “We just didn’t come out as strong as we could have.”
Play was even early in the first, but midway through the set, the Tribe began to build a lead and took control, winning 25-18.
William & Mary took an early lead in the second, and the Huskies were unable to make up for the deficit. Freshman defensive specialist Sherrie Wang had a service ace, and Northeastern strung together five straight points, but it wasn’t enough. The Tribe led two sets to none.
In the third, senior Cherylain Dizon took over. The California native landed seven kills in the set, giving the Huskies the 25-23 edge.
The Tribe was able to turn it around in the following frame, winning 25-23 to secure the four-set victory.
Northeastern Head Coach Ken Nichols discussed the differences between Friday’s win over Elon and Sunday’s loss.
“In particular, the ability to serve tough and disrupt was more consistent in the Elon match,” Nichols said. “[Against William & Mary], we came out very flat from the service line, very conservative, and we were missing serves on top of it. So, I think if we had served with aggression from the beginning to the end, then it probably would’ve helped us a lot.”
Dizon posted 11 kills against William & Mary – her second-highest total of the season. However, the team struggled as a whole, ending the game with a season-high 10 reception errors.
The 4-14 Huskies will look to notch a victory at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on Friday.
Photo by Brian Bae.