Volleyball: Season ends with loss to Hens

Volleyball: Season ends with loss to Hens

By Jewel Della Valle

Despite a successful season that led to Northeastern’s first-ever Colonial Athletic Association playoff berth, the volleyball team was unable to put up a win against Delaware in the CAA Quarterfinals.

The Huskies ended their season with a 0-3 loss to the Blue Hens at host school Hofstra’s court in Hempstead, N.Y., Nov. 17.

Junior outside hitter Kira Batura was named to the All-CAA second team and was the only Husky to garner CAA honors.

“I thought it was good but I was more upset that some of the seniors didn’t get awards,” Batura said. “I think a lot of people on our team deserved awards and they were just overlooked. Everyone on our team contributed a lot to our season and I think that’s almost what’s hard, because we are such a well-balanced team that no one on our team stands out.”

After starting the year at 2-6, the Huskies were able to come back from their early season blunders to finish fourth place with a record of 15-12 (12-6 CAA). Northeastern’s only CAA losses were twice to CAA-champion Hofstra, No. 2 James Madison and No. 5 Delaware.

The Huskies struggled in games one and two, losing both 19-30, but managed to pick up their play in game three. It wasn’t enough to snap the Blue Hens’ momentum though, as they pulled off a 30-24 win and took the match, ending Northeastern’s season.

“The most important thing for us was to have a balanced attack, that’s where our success has been in the past,” said head coach Ken Nichols. “We knew Delaware was a tough serving team so we spent a good deal of time on serve-receive, trying to make sure we could control their jump-servers. They have three really good ones and they’ve got two others who have tough jump-floats, so the tempo varies tremendously from server to server. It’s a very challenging team to try and pass against.”

Though the Huskies spent the majority of the week before the match practicing serving and passing, those were the areas of the game that eventually did them in. Nichols said since the Huskies served easy, Delaware was able to play in system, enabling them to set their strong outside hitters, who the Huskies needed to shut down in order to win.

“The last time we played them as well as we did, we kept them scrambling in the receive-game and we struggled to block them even with the double-block,” Nichols said. “This time, our serving got too cautious or too reckless; we couldn’t find that good middle ground and their serving was spectacular.”

Nichols said Northeastern’s passing game needed to be smoother, allowing the setters to set to the middle hitters, which the team strategy depends on for success.

Nichols said since Delaware’s success is dependent on its outside hitters, the passing game doesn’t need to be as successful. The Huskies need a working passing game to win, however.

“Our offense is the opposite; we have to pass well for our middles to be successful,” Nichols said. “If we’re not, we can’t even get the ball to them in the first place and it affords Delaware an opportunity to double-block our outsides on a regular basis.

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