Volleyball: Youthful Wildcats are ready to take on Big Ten

James Carlton

After narrowly missing out on the NCAA Tournament last season and losing several valuable seniors, the Wildcats will try to survive the harsh Big Ten conference with a young team.

The Cats spent their first eight matches away from home, going 4-4, before returning to Evanston for the Wildcat Classic this past weekend.

“Coming home is amazing,” sophomore middle blocker Sabel Moffett said. “We sleep in our own beds, don’t have to wake up in a motel and the food is better. There’s definitely a home-court advantage.”

Northwestern started the season close by, playing in the Chicagoland Challenge, where it split two matches. The Cats handily beat Illinois-Chicago 3-0 before bowing to Loyola 3-1.

Moffett and senior middle blocker Chelsy Hyser led a potent, two-pronged attack. The duo had 17 and 23 kills, respectively, including Moffett’s career-high 14 against Loyola. Sophomore setter Elyse Glab had 74 assists and joined Moffett on the all-tournament team.

Coach Keylor Chan said he is counting on Hyser, a four-year starter, to be the team’s rock this season.

“We need her to be very tough,” Chan said. “She’s mature and gives us emotional stability, and also she can do things, physically, that others can’t.”

In the Dayton Flyer Tournament the Cats took the hosts to five sets, before falling 3-2. Junior libero Kate Nobilio set the school single-match record with 38 digs, and sophomore Brittani Gray notched 17 kills. Thanks to a balanced attack