Volleyball one win from playoffs

By Jewel Della Valle

The volleyball team fell one win short of clinching a postseason spot this weekend in a conference match head coach Ken Nichols said was the best he’s seen this year.

The Huskies swept Towson 3-0 Friday (30-28, 30-24, 37-35), but couldn’t keep their three-game winning streak alive against Delaware, despite going up by two games early in the match.

In the Delaware match, junior outside hitter Kira Batura raised her career digs total to 1,377, breaking the 15-year-old school record of 1,365 digs set by Chris Frein-Hale in 1991.

“It’s awesome, I would never expect to do that,” Batura said. “I’m able to get the digs because we set our block really well so I have to attribute that to my teammates too.”

Northeastern gained sole possession of third place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) following the victory over Towson, but relinquished it the next day after losing to Delaware. The Huskies and Towson remain tied for third in the conference.

Though the Huskies swept Towson, the games were much closer than the scores indicated. Nichols said the match was a “great battle” with some close, tough calls.

“All through the Towson match we were super tough with siding-out,” Nichols said. “The [biggest] run Towson was able to put together was three points once.”

Nichols said Towson was siding-out great as well, as Northeastern only managed two runs beyond two points in the entire match.

Batura continued her dominance, racking up her tenth double-double of the season with a team-high 13 kills and match-high 26 digs.

Sophomore middle hitter Brittany Eukovich and senior co-captain Ashley Reeves followed with 12 kills each and hit for match-highs in attacking percentage at .444 and .321, respectively. Freshman setter Jessica Tkachuk led the Huskies with 26 assists.

In Saturday’s game at Delaware, Northeastern took a commanding two-game lead (30-26, 30-25). The Huskies lost game three, 27-30, then dropped games four and five 24-30 and 9-15.

“We came out in the first two games doing the same thing we did against Towson, siding-out extremely well,” Nichols said. “Then in the third game Delaware was really going for it from the service line. I have seen probably seven of their matches this season and they haven’t played all year with [that] level of intensity. I told my team I was very proud of the way they played but Delaware was taking enormous chances and it was paying off for them. They began to play nearly flawless volleyball, which they needed to play to beat us.”

Reeves led Northeastern with 14 kills and was second in attacking at .448 to senior co-captain Whitney Turner’s .600 mark. Batura led in digs with 21, while senior setter Ivana Pavlisin led in assists with 26.

“[Delaware] just found a way to beat us by basically playing perfect and that’s what we have to do to beat them,” Reeves said “That’s what we took away from [the match].”

After losing to the Huskies Friday, Towson handed CAA-leading Hofstra its first conference loss of the season in a 3-0 sweep. Northeastern has beaten Towson twice this season but lost to Hofstra twice, evidence, Nichols said, of how unpredictable the conference can be.

“Don’t try to make an analysis on who the best team is by who wins on any given weekend,” he said. “The best team is yet to be discovered.”

Northeastern will take on No. 2 James Madison Friday and they need a win to get a chance at a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

If they lose to JMU, the Huskies will attempt to clinch a postseason spot at No. 9 George Mason Saturday.

Leave a Reply