Volleyball: NU secures No. 2 seed in tournament

By Katlyn Gambill, News Correspondent

The women’s volleyball team traveled to Georgia State University (GSU) and the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) last weekend to finish out their regular season. With wins against both teams (3-2 against GSU, 3-1 against UNCW),  the Huskies finished with the number two seed in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament.
Before Sunday’s game, the Huskies found out Delaware University defeated George Mason University Saturday to win the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

Delaware and Northeastern each finished with 11-3 CAA records, but the Blue Hens won the head-to-head matchup, earning them the top seed but both teams earned a bye in the first round of the tournament.

Sophomore outside hitter Kelly Bacon, who had 18 kills and 6 digs, spurred the Huskies’ offense as they won the first set 25-12.
“We played basically three different lineups,” head coach Ken Nichols said. “We tried a few different things so we’re not the same thing that everybody has scouted all season long going into this weekend.”
Though the first set ended decisively in favor of Northeastern, the second set was more difficult for either team to take a lead. UNCW had the final two kills to break a 23-23 tie and win the set.
In the third set, Northeastern gained a nine-point lead with the score at 17-8, but UNCW eventually tied the set at 23 a piece.
“We were definitely going high risk,” Nichols said. “UNC Wilmington had absolutely  nothing to lose and so they played a pretty casual matchup until the third set and somewhere in the second set they really started to go for it.”
The Huskies called a timeout to regain their composure with the score tied.

Going on a six-point run, Northeastern went up 10-6 over the Seahawks, holding them off for the remainder of the set. The Huskies closed out the match with a 25-18 win in the fourth set.

“It’s like in basketball, full-court press will change the dynamic of the game but it’s very hard to keep up the entire game,” Nichols said. “It wore off and we started to control some of the other variables they were throwing at us.”

The Huskies took on the GSU Panthers Friday, in a five-set match with scores of 25-23, 21-25, 16-25, 25-15, 15-11.

“Teams have scouted our weaknesses as our passing and the only way to stop our offense because we have a lot of crossing plays, the only way to stop us is serve us out of the system and not let us run our offense,” Bri Hollis, a sophomore defensive specialist, said.
The first set started off shaky for Northeastern as GSU went ahead with a 7-1 lead, but the Huskies earned the set victory.
The Panthers held off the Huskies in the second and third sets to take the lead in the match. Facing desperation, Northeastern had to win in the fourth set to keep the game alive.
“We kind of picked it up after they started beating us,” Armstrong said.
Northeastern began to attack GSU’s weaknesses and won the fourth set by 10 points.
“We all just really wanted to push through it as a team – use our chemistry to our advantage,” Armstrong said.
The fifth set went back and forth between the teams before Northeastern broke the 7-7 tie.
“Teams know that if we pass well that we’re very tough to beat,” Nichols said. “Georgia served much tougher this time around and it took us a little while to stabilize the serve-receive, but once we did we did much better.”
Freshman libero Natalia Skiba was named the defensive player  of the week Monday for the CAA. She had 49 digs over the weekend and remains the leader of digs per set in the CAA.
Northeastern will play the winner of the Towson and Virginia Commonwealth University game in the semifinals Saturday.
“Everything’s 0-0, you’re starting over, you’re starting fresh, and I think that going in with that attitude is really going to help us,” Hollis said.
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