DEKALB, IL – Toledo gave defending Mid-American Conference regular-season champion Northern Illinois a scare in the opening set on Saturday evening but the Huskies still managed to register a 3-0 (27-25, 25-14, 25-15) triumph over the Rockets. The victory propelled NIU (12-8, 3-1 MAC) into a three-way tie atop the West Division, while UT fell to 7-9 overall and 3-1 in league play.
"We played a tight first set and thought we had some momentum," Toledo Head Coach Greg Smith said. "But then we came out flat and you can't do that against good teams like Northern Illinois. It's a disappointing loss, and we need to do a better job of coming out and competing better."
The Rockets managed just 24 kills in the match, including just five in the third set. Senior OH Sondra Parys (.222 ATK) and Junior RSH Becca Reidy (.500 ATK%) tied for the team lead with six kills, with junior MB Dakota Harkins and junior OH Lauren Rafdal notching five terminations apiece.
Parys and Harkins paced Toledo's defensive effort at the net with four and three blocks, respectively, while senior libero McCall Paynter contributed a team-high 11 digs in the back row.
Senior OH Meghan Romo and sophomore OH MacKenzie Roddy were NIU's offensive leaders with 14 and 12 kills, respectively.
The Huskies hit .301 as a team and limited the Rockets to a .129 hitting mark.
UT rallied late in the opening set to even the score at 24-24 on a block from junior S Adria Pryor and a Rafdal kill. The Huskies ended up pulling out the win thanks to a kill and block from Romo.
The second set was close in the early stages until a 10-1 NIU spurt put the Huskies firmly in control at 19-8. Toledo also was within 8-7 in Set 3 but a 7-1 Husky run gave the hosts the lead for good.
The Rockets return to action on Friday, Oct. 5 when they host Eastern Michigan in the first contest of a season-long five-match homestand.