Volleyball: Two Homecoming wins set Huskies up for postseason

Volleyball: Two Homecoming wins set Huskies up for postseason

It was a sweet Homecoming sweep for the volleyball team last weekend, who topped William ‘ Mary and Virginia Commonwealth, bringing their Colonial Athletic Association record to 8-4 and securing them fourth place in the conference.

On Friday the Huskies faced William ‘ Mary in a three-game sweep. It was the first time this season the Tribe was swept in a loss. After struggling in first games throughout the season, Northeastern won game one 30-22 and outhit the Tribe .316 to .044.

“We talked a lot about first game troubles last week,” head coach Ken Nichols said. “But we just came out and outhit them.”

Despite the sweep, it took some adjustments to get the win. Nichols switched setters from senior Ivana Pavlisin to back-up senior Chelsea Carroll, who finished the game with 21 assists.

“It’s nothing against Ivana but it’s the second time through the conference and that adds to how they scout us,” Nichols said. “We have three great setters so we used the depth. It was also very warm out there and Ivana’s European style of setting doesn’t work well with a sweaty ball. Chelsea has a California set. That was what worked tonight.”

Northeastern took game two, 30-20, but William ‘ Mary made it a battle in game three – pushing for extra points before the Huskies won 33-31.

Sophomore outside hitter Lauren DeTurk led the Huskies with 16 kills after struggling last week with an injured hand.

“Lauren is fine again,” Nichols said. “An injury to her hitting hand effects how she hits the ball tremendously, how she snaps and controls the ball. It is not just the setters whose hands are critical. She is getting healthy and that is key.”

Sophomore middle hitter Brittany Eukovich added seven kills and a .778 attack percentage.

“Eukovich should have gotten more swings but the other teams try to key in on Kira [Batura],” Nichols said. “And that is actually fine because then they aren’t worrying about the seven other people that are on the court and they can play well.”

Virginia Commonwealth tried to end the Huskies’ winning streak at two games Sunday, but Northeastern took the match in four games.

The Huskies took game one 30-27, but the Rams rebounded in game two, 30-20. After hitting .211 in the first game, Northeastern was limited to a .077 attack percentage in game two. They needed an extra point to win game three, 31-29, before cruising to a 30-24 game-four win.

The Huskies forced 16 VCU service errors and 28 attack errors.

“At times we were up by a lot so we were able to be aggressive on the serve,” Batura said. “Then they felt like they had to serve aggressive and it forced them to make errors. Plus they had to play stronger defense too and come up with big digs and big blocks.”

Batura finished the day with a team-leading 21 digs and added nine kills. DeTurk led the team in kills for the second time that weekend with 15 and Eukovich added 11. Pavlisin rebounded from Friday, posting 26 assists.

After a slow 2-6 start to the season, the Huskies have put themselves in contention for a CAA playoff berth.

“We are in contention for a bye in the first round,” Nichols said. “We just have to keep winning matches. In all these head-to-head games someone has to lose. Beating a team like VCU twice gives us a cushion.”

The Huskies have six games left in the regular season, including four on the road beginning with Towson at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

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