By Tim Foley, news staff
The Northeastern women’s volleyball team suffered losses to the University of Delaware and Towson University last weekend as the end of the regular season drew near.
The Huskies (20-9, 10-5 CAA) have been on the road for five of their last seven games.
When Northeastern faced Delaware at home last month, it resulted in a straight-set victory. But Friday was different.
“You can’t make light of how intimate things are the second time around,” said Ken Nichols, the head coach of Northeastern. “To give them home court advantage for the second match makes it a lot tougher on us.”
But the match on Friday was very closely fought. In fact, despite losing, the Huskies outscored the Blue Hens (13-14, 7-7 CAA) 86-74 overall.
Delaware set the tone from the beginning though. The Huskies led 21-20, but the Delaware attack reeled off four consecutive points to take control, eventually taking the set 25-22.
“Delaware made a change in their setting,” Nichols said. “We knew what we were getting into. We thought we had something we could exploit better and we failed to.”
The Huskies were able to turn the game around after the first set, winning the second and third. Seniors Hannah Fry and Caterina Rosander bolstered the front line with 16 and 14 kills, respectively. Senior setter Jamie Bredahl added a double-double with 16 kills and 14 digs.
With the match tied in the fourth, Delaware scored the last two points to win 25-23 and sent the match to a decisive final frame.
The Huskies were able to build a 13-10 lead in the fifth, but gave up five consecutive points and lost 15-13, dropping the match.
On Sunday the Northeastern women took on Towson and struggled to get anything going in the first set. The Tigers (22-7, 9-5 CAA) took the first set 25-13. Nichols said exhaustion played a role after the marathon match at Delaware.
“I love my athletes,” Nichols said. “They are remarkable student athletes – but they’re also human.”
Sunday was Towson’s senior night, and Nichols said the match was “heated and emotional” for that reason. The Huskies found a way to pull out the second set 25-21, but lost the third in a nail-biter, 28-26.
A kill from freshman middle blocker Shaina White knotted the score at 26, but Towson scored twice to seal the set.
“I would like to have seen how the match would have played out if we were able to turn around that third set,” Nichols said.
The Huskies kept it close in the fourth frame, but Delaware widened its lead late and secured the match with a 25-21 win.
Despite the losses, Nichols remains positive about the season.
“Those were two very competitive matches against two very good teams,” Nichols said. “I think there are valuable lessons to learn now instead of two weeks from now.”
The Huskies still sit atop the CAA standings, just ahead of the College of Charleston. The women will close out the season Sunday against Elon.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics