The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



Got an idea? A concern? A problem? Let The Huntington News know:

Northeastern volleyball ends their regular season with back-to-back 3-0 losses to Towson

Sofia Sawchuk
Graduate student outside hitter Julianna Truscott sets up to serve the ball. Truscott was one of six graduating Huskies celebrated in Sunday’s senior day match.

This past weekend at the Cabot Center, Northeastern’s volleyball team (11-13, 7-9 CAA) suffered back-to-back 3-0 losses to Towson University (23-5, 16-2 CAA). These losses closed out Northeastern’s regular season, bringing the teams final record to 11-13, 9-9 CAA. However, with Hofstra’s loss to Stony Brook and University of North Carolina Wilmington’s victory over William and Mary, Northeastern clinched a CAA tournament berth.

On Saturday, Towson, ranked No. 1 in the CAA, came into the match confident it could win, but Northeastern matched the Tigers’ energy with the help of plenty of past players present for the Alumni Game. 

Northeastern won the opening point with a kill from graduate student outside hitter Julianna Truscott, assisted by freshman libero Tessa Onaga. The two teams went back and forth in kills, but Northeastern began to pull ahead after an igniting service ace from senior defensive specialist Maddie Donaphon. Consecutive kills from Truscott and senior outside hitter Defne Arliel and attack errors from the Tigers gave the Huskies an 11-7 lead just under halfway through the first set. 

After a Tigers timeout, the away team began to close the gap with dominating kills the Huskies could not dig, tying the score at 14-14 just past midway through the set. The teams traded points, with neither team leading by more than two for the rest of the set. 

A kill from Towson junior outside hitter Victoria Barrett brought the Tigers to set point 24-23. Northeastern fought back, and an attack error from Towson knotted it up 24-24, forcing the set to extra points. Towson senior outside hitter Nina Cajic finished it off with a kill, giving the Tigers a 27-25 win in the opening set. 

The second set began with kills from Arliel and a tool from Truscott. However, Towson had the momentum of winning set one and continued to lead. The Tigers began to pull ahead with service aces and kills from its best hitters, and a block gave the team an 8-4 lead. 

The Huskies found their rhythm and scored three back-to-back points to close the gap to 8-7, but Towson refused to let up, the team’s kills frustrating the Husky defense. 

Northeastern began to crawl back after a combined block by freshman outside hitter Abby Reck and senior middle blocker Marika Virthe and tough serves from junior outside hitter Sahitya Krishnamurthy that the Tigers could not pass to target, tying it up 20-20. 

Towson finished the set with kills from Barrett and a setter dump from sophomore setter Sarah Jordan that Onaga could not pick up, the final score 25-21. 

By set three, Towson was confidently up two sets, but Northeastern did not let the Tigers have an easy third. Northeastern’s Coach Lenika Vazquez made a few lineup changes, including switching out Onaga for Donaphon at libero. 

A kill from Truscott opened the set, giving the Huskies an energy boost. The teams went back and forth, but Towson began to rack up points with several attack errors from the Huskies, putting Towson up 11-7 midway through the set. 

Northeastern slowly tried to close the gap but could not keep up with the Tigers. Arliel dished out two tough serves that brought the Huskies closer, 14-13. Towson then went on a 5-0 run, two of the points earned through attack errors from Reck, bringing the score to 19-13.  

Northeastern put up a few points, but it was all Towson for the rest of the match. Barrett and Cajic continued to control the Towson offense, finishing the set 25-19 and holding Northeastern to a .117 hitting percentage. 

Sunday was game two against Towson but also Northeastern’s senior day. The Huskies recognized six seniors: Donaphon, Truscott, Zier, Arliel, Virthe and graduate student setter Inbal Peleg. 

The Huskies entered the game with a different energy than the previous game. Their families and friends were in the crowd cheering them on, and it was their last regular season match of the year; Northeastern was ready to put on a show. 

Each team got a point to start the match, but Northeastern got a crowd-energizing kill from Virthe to bring it up to 2-2. The Huskies racked up three points in a row with commanding blocks from Truscott, Virthe and Arliel, controlling the net for a 5-2 lead. 

The teams traded points for a bit until Towson fired off a 5-0 run to give the away team a 9-7 lead. A kill and block from Zier tied it up at nine a piece. 

The Tigers then began to overtake with a kill from Cajic. Towson led the rest of the set, with the Huskies playing catch-up. Going on another 5-0 run, the Tigers led 18-12. 

Vasquez subbed out Truscott for freshman middle blocker and opposite Leilani Gillespie, who got a combined block with Zier her first point in, boosting the team’s energy. Leilani continued to be a game-changer for the Huskies as she aced the Tigers to move the score to 21-17. 

With a comfortable lead, however, Towson was able to easily close the set 25-20, with Peleg unable to dig the finishing kill.

Northeastern appeared to have run out of gas by the second set. Reck opened the set with a kill, and Donaphon notched an ace to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead, but Towson came right back and knocked off two points of its own. The teams rallied back and forth until it was tied at 9-9. 

From then on, it was the Tigers’ show. Towson went on a 5-0 run to lead 14-9. After back-to-back attack errors, Arliel finally got a kill to end the Tigers’ dominant streak. However, Towson continued to rack off point after point, seemingly leaving the Huskies frustrated as the defense could not handle the Tigers’ kills, bringing the score to 19-11. 

Northeastern got a few points from an ace from Onaga and attack errors from Towson, but after another kill from Cajic, the Tigers had reached set point, 24-16. Fittingly, Towson gave the ball to Cajic to finish it off, and finished set two with a score of 25-16. 

Towson maintained its energy in set three, going on an early 4-0 stint to open the set. The Tigers led the entire set, with Northeastern unable to keep up. 

Virthe got a solo block, and Tigers attack errors made the score 6-4. Towson continued to pull ahead, with back-to-back attack errors from Zier increasing their lead to 8-4. Reck got a few kills, but Towson was determined, doubling the Huskies’ score at 12-6 midway through the set. Northeastern tried to close the gap, but it was not until the Huskies were seven points behind at 22-15 that they gained some momentum. 

Graduate middle blocker Nyla Shepherd, who did not play in the first two sets, got a kill to increase the Huskies’ energy and bring the score to 22-16. Kills from Zier and Truscott and a massive block by the pair closed the gap to 23-21. Towson got to set point, but Northeastern did not give up, trimming the Tiger lead to one, 24-23. 

The Tigers wanted a 3-0 sweep to finish their weekend, and they did just that, finishing the set with a kill, 25-23, earning Towson its fourth consecutive CAA regular season title. 

Even though the Huskies lost, the families and friends in the stands cheered the seniors on as they played their final game in their home arena. 

After clinching the sixth seed in the CAA, the Huskies will begin CAA tournament play in Maryland, playing Campbell (16-12, 13-5 CAA) this Thursday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. When Northeastern played Campbell in the regular season, the Huskies faced two 3-0 losses back-to-back.

About the Contributor
Esha Minhas, Deputy Sports Editor
More to Discover