By Tim Foley, news staff

After a long road trip, the Northeastern University women’s volleyball team returned to the Cabot Center for two matches, falling to the College of Charleston in four sets on Friday,  followed by a five-set loss against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) on Sunday.

The Huskies (4-21) have lost their last eight games and are 1-9 against Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponents.

”We were a little careful against Charleston,” Head Coach Ken Nichols said. “We were trying to just keep balls in play, and you know what? These are good teams in conference. That’s not going to get you a lot of traction.”

After losing in four sets to Charleston on Tuesday, Northeastern faced the Cougars again at home on Friday. Unfortunately for the Huskies, the second match yielded the same outcome as the first.

Charleston (13-11, 5-5 CAA) reeled off nine straight points to take a 20-13 lead over the Huskies and won the first set 25-18. The Huskies went on to take the second frame 28-26 and tied the match at one set apiece.

The Northeastern women maintained their momentum for much of the third, but the Cougars scored six of the last seven points to win, 25-21. Charleston took over again in the fourth and won the set and the match. The Huskies were unable to find an answer for Charleston’s senior outside hitter Melissa Morello, who totaled 23 kills in the game with a .467 hitting percentage.

“We’re a pretty young team this year,” junior setter Jamie Bredahl said. “It’s really all about, ‘How can we mature the fastest to be able to win some of these close sets?’ As we talked after the match, we decided that we did play better in certain areas of our game.”

On Sunday, the Huskies met UNCW for the second time this season. The second match was similar to the first, in which NU lost in five sets.

Once again, the Huskies got off to a strong start. Sophomore outside hitter Brigitte Burcescu came up big in the first set with four kills, a block and an ace. NU won the set 25-15.

The Seahawks (17-5, 8-2 CAA) battled back in the second. They took control 11-6, and the Huskies only managed 16 points in the set.

Junior outside hitter Hannah Fry and sophomore middle blocker Carmen Costa both missed Sunday’s game with lower body injuries.

“[UNCW] is a very good team, projected very high in conference,” Nichols said. “They’re healthy and they’re deep. And we’re not healthy, and we’re absolutely not deep.”

Despite Northeastern’s lack of healthy subs, the Huskies were able to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Burcescu came up with three crucial kills in the third set – part of a six-point run that helped the Huskies tie the score at 9. Northeastern fought to keep the score close and won four of the last five points to win the set, 25-21. Senior outside hitter Cherylain Dizon (12 kills) had Northeastern’s final three kills of the set.

The Huskies owned a 9-5 lead in the fourth but allowed UNCW back in. The Seahawks pulled ahead and took the set, 25-20.

“We just got stuck in a rotation,” Bredahl said. “UNCW took advantage of the rotation, and in a quick game to 25, you can’t afford that.”

The Huskies were unable to close in the fourth, and UNCW forced a decisive fifth set. Bredahl added 14 digs and 30 assists to mark her second triple-double of the season, but UNCW finished the match with a two-point win in the set.

The Huskies will travel again this weekend to take on Hofstra University on Sunday.
Photo by Brian Bae