By Tim Foley, news staff
After back-to-back weekends on the road, the Northeastern women’s volleyball team returned home to collect wins against the College of William & Mary and James Madison University (JMU).
The Huskies (13-5, 3-1 CAA) had an exhausting few weeks of traveling, which packed 16 matches into 31 days.
“We were just happy to be back in our own beds,” head coach Ken Nichols said.
The chance to rest seemed to pay off for the Northeastern women, who came out on the home court looking strong in the first set against William & Mary.
“Cabot is such a comfortable environment,” Nichols said. “It always has been. Most of my career, we’ve been pretty dominant at home.”
Friday night was no different. The Huskies won 25-20 in the first set; then, in the second, senior setter Jamie Bredahl landed four late kills to lift the team, 25-19, over the Tribe (6-11, 0-4 CAA).
Middle blocker Carmen Costa totaled six kills in the second set. The junior from Los Angeles had nine kills and two blocks in Friday’s match.
“Carmen [Costa] has been everything we need,” Nichols said. “She’s able to play different positions and does it with a smile on her face. Like everyone else on this year’s team, she says, ‘Whatever you need, coach.’”
It’s that positive attitude that Nichols points to with regards to the team’s success this year. It was evident on the sidelines Friday, as the Huskies took the third frame 25-22 to complete the sweep.
“The team is grasping the concepts very well and everyone’s trying to help each other,” Nichols said. “I’m very impressed with the dynamic of this team.”
In the first set against JMU on Saturday, that attitude continued to pay dividends. With the score knotted at 22, the Huskies were able to stay one point ahead, continuously siding out against the Dukes (10-7, 2-2 CAA) to maintain a lead. Eventually the pattern gave way, and Northeastern earned consecutive points to seal the first set, 27-25.
“The team was able to keep that comfort level,” Nichols said. “We’ve had a lot of close sets this year, and we’ve won more than our fair share. This team’s ability to win in close sets is a big difference that sets them apart from last year’s team.”
To end the set, the Huskies were powered by kills from senior outside hitter Hannah Fry, junior outside hitter Brigitte Burcescu and freshman middle blocker Shaina White. Nichols said that with so many players contributing, the team is “not quite as one dimensional.”
It was that parity across the front line that gave Northeastern an advantage over James Madison. Janey Goodman, senior right side for the Dukes, racked up a season-high 23 kills against the Huskies. Goodman had six kills in the second set, which JMU won, 25-21. But despite that, Northeastern went on to win the following two sets and take the match.
“I would have liked to do a better job slowing [Goodman] down,” Nichols said. “We struggled to stop her, but as a team we were able to get past that.”
Fry’s team-high 13 kills, as well as senior middle blocker Caterina Rosander’s six blocks, were a big part of the team’s success. White and Burcescu also each contributed three blocks in a stellar defensive performance from the front line.
“JMU has some nuances on their attack,” Nichols said. “We rehearsed it and practiced it. As the match went on, the adjustments were very good. Those last-second adjustments were enough to make the difference.”
The Northeastern women will remain at home as they prepare to take on Elon University at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Photo by Jerry Yu.