Delaware Drops Matches to Host Northwestern, Western Michigan on Day 1 of Wildcat Tournament
September 14, 2012
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The University of Delaware dropped a pair of matches against two outstanding opponents at the first day of the Wildcat Classic Friday as the Hens dropped a pair of 3-0 decisions to host Northwestern and Western Michigan at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The Blue Hens (2-9) fell to Northwestern by scores of 25-14, 25-14, 25-17 in the afternoon match and then dropped a tight 26-24, 25-15, 26-24 decision to Western Michigan in the evening session.
Northwestern, which remained undefeated on the season at 9-0, is a perennial Big 10 Conference contender while Western Michigan (7-4) advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 last season.
Delaware will close out the tournament Saturday when the Blue Hens take on St. Louis University at 5:30 p.m.
Stephanie Holthus led Northwestern with 14 kills against just three attack errors to hit .344 for Northwestern, which is receiving votes in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll. Katie Dutchman added eight kills and Savannah Paffen contributed six while neither committed an attack error, as the Wildcats hit an impressive .365 for the match.
Julie Chin made a team-high 12 digs while Madalyn Shalter chipped in with 10 digs and 36 assists for Northwestern, which also held a 10-3 advantage in blocks.
Delaware junior outside hitter Katie Hank led the Blue Hens with 11 kills while committing just four attack errors, as she posted a .304 attack percentage for the match. Alissa Alker added six kills for Delaware, while Katie Hillman and Logan Sebastian contributed four apiece. Freshman Ariel Shonk (at right) posted 17 digs for Delaware while classmate Mackenzie Olsen handed out 27 assists.
Northwestern quickly took control of the first set, scoring 11 of the first 12 points to take a double digit lead. Delaware scored three of the next four points to pull within 12-4, but the Wildcats steadily built their lead to 20-7 on a kill by Holthus. The Blue Hens could get not closer than nine points the rest of the set, which ended with an attack error by Hank.
The Wildcats scored the first three points of the second set, and would not trail the rest of the way. Delaware closed within a point at 7-6, but Northwestern answered with six of the next seven points to increase the margin to 13-7 on a service ace by Abbie Kraus. The Wildcats’ advantage grew to as much as 11 points, and NU ended the game when Paffen and Monica McGreal combined on a block.
Delaware took its first lead of the match early in the third game as consecutive service aces by Chelsea Lawrence put the Blue Hens in front, 4-1. UD still led 7-6 following a Sebastian kill, but the Wildcats countered with three straight points and would not relinquish the lead again. Delaware was within three at 18-15 before three straight points by Northwestern pushed the margin to six, and the Blue Hens would not threaten from there.
In the second match of the night, Western Michigan posted the three-set win as Ali Gossen and Jessica Brown each recorded 14 kills, and Carlee Berland added 11. Lena Oliver led the defense with 23 digs while Terin Norris and Kaycee Acree added 10 digs. Norris also led the way with 43 assists.
Hank paced the Hens with 13 kills while Lawrence added eight kills, Shonk recorded 13 digs, and Olsen dished out 32 assists.
Western Michigan won the first set 26-24 after jumping out to a 5-0 lead. But Delaware fought back and tied the set at 19-19 and took the lead at 23-21 on a Hank kill. But Western Michigan came back for the win as kills by Gossen and Brown clinched the victory.
WMU overpowered the Hens 25-15 in the second set, using a 5-0 run to overcome an early 8-7 deficit. The Hens gave Western Michigan all it could handle in the final set before once dropping a hard-fought 26-24 decision.
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