Playoffs await volleyball team

Playoffs await volleyball team

By Jewel Della Valle

Going into Friday night’s game against Georgia State, the Huskies had already locked up a postseason berth at No. 4 in the conference.

NU needed to win both matches – and for third-place Towson to lose a match – to flip-flop positions. The Huskies did their part, but Towson won matches against Virginia Commonwealth and William ‘ Mary to dash Northeastern’s hopes of a third-place finish.

The Huskies got off to a fast start in game one against the Georgia State Panthers, going on a 10-2 run. But the Huskies couldn’t keep the fast-paced play up, and No. 7 Georgia State came back within one point several times to tie the Huskies at 27 late in the game. Northeastern managed to hang on and took game one 30-28.

“We like to use the racing analogies, and it’s great to come out of the gate flying but sometimes if you ever watch a really great horse, it can lose its stride,” said head coach Ken Nichols. “We came out of the gate so bloody fast. It’s hard to stay at that level and run that fast without coming off the tracks a little bit.”

Nichols said GSU was playing unconventional volleyball, which forced them to readjust their usual style of play.

“[GSU] is in a situation where they’ve got nothing to lose and they’re experimenting,” Nichols said. “All the video that we looked at, all the preparation was just right out the window once we saw what they were running. Early in the game, we were just oblivious to what was going on on the other side. Then we realized that we were going to have to use a little bit of strategy.”

The Huskies managed to take control of games two and three and keep GSU at bay, trailing only briefly at the start of game three. The Huskies took game two, 30-22, and game three, 30-24, to complete the sweep.

Senior co-captain Ashley Reeves registered a match-high 13 kills and .550 attacking percentage. Junior outside hitter Kira Batura and sophomore middle hitter Lauren DeTurk contributed 12 kills each, while Batura tallied her 13th double-double of the season with an additional 14 digs. Freshman libero Leah Neubeck’s 16 digs and senior setter Ivana Pavlisin’s 29 assists were match-highs.

Reeves, Pavlisin, senior co-captain Whitney Turner, senior setter Chelsea Carroll and senior outside hitter Maralene Zwarich were honored before Sunday’s match as part of Senior Day and the last home match of the season.

The Huskies faced off against UNC Wilmington, 0-18 in conference and 8-25 on the season. Despite UNC Wilmington’s record, Northeastern had to fight hard to hold off the Seahawks.

After getting off to a 10-5 start, Husky fans watched in disbelief as the Seahawks, down for most of the game, overcame the deficit and won game one, 28-30. The Huskies recovered and took games two and three (30-25, 30-26). The Seahawks won game four, 25-30, but NU escaped the prospect of an upset by winning game five, 15-9, for the match victory.

“We didn’t play hard enough to win, but we got away with it because we were arguably bigger, faster, stronger, a more athletic team,” Nichols said.

The Seahawks, much like Georgia State, played unconventional volleyball and experimented more with their style of play. Carroll and Zwarich saw more playing time than normal because of senior day, which threw the Huskies off, Reeves said.

“We just weren’t used to having [Carroll and Zwarich] play that much,” Reeves said. “They didn’t hurt us; they were playing really well, it’s just that when you throw somebody in there who hasn’t been playing the chemistry gets a little messed up. [UNC Wilmington] was doing the same thing Georgia State was doing

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