Cats earn 1st win over ranked opponent against Minnesota (Volleyball)

Nick Halpern

With the Big Ten season winding down, the Northwestern volleyball team (16-10, 7-7 Big Ten) couldn’t afford another weekend split.

After dominating woeful Iowa (5-19, 0-14) on Friday night, the Wildcats swept conference-leading Minnesota (17-9, 10-4) on Saturday for their first victory over a ranked opponent this season.

“We knew we were going to win,” said Iwona Lodzik. “We followed their scouting report. It’s a great feeling, but we were confident.”

Iowa was no match for the Cats, falling in three straight games (30-17, 30-24, 30-28). The first two games were one-sided, and NU was able to rally in the third game after digging a six-point deficit.

“Anytime you face a winless team, you have to watch out, because they’re gunning for you to get that first win,” said head coach Keylor Chan. “We came in not wanting to be that first team.”

Playing in front of the 1983 Northwestern volleyball team which won the Big Ten title, NU dismantled No. 20 Minnesota in three games (30-25, 30-24, 30-24).

The Cats came out strong in the first two games behind strong performances from Jill Buschur, who notched five kills in both games, and Lodzik, who finished off the Golden Gophers with two service aces in the first game and had six kills in the second.

After the break, NU opened up a big lead but almost let Minnesota come storming back. Chan called a timeout to stop the momentum.

“I told them to be disciplined and execute the game plan like they had all game,” said Chan.