The Daily Northwestern

Volleyball: Northwestern looks for first Big Ten win against Purdue, Indiana

Symone+Abbott+leaps+for+a+spike.+The+junior+outside+hitter+will+look+to+lead+Northwestern+to+its+first+Big+Ten+victory+this+weekend.
Symone Abbott leaps for a spike. The junior outside hitter will look to lead Northwestern to its first Big Ten victory this weekend.

Symone Abbott leaps for a spike. The junior outside hitter will look to lead Northwestern to its first Big Ten victory this weekend.

Daily file photo by Jonathan Dai

Daily file photo by Jonathan Dai

Symone Abbott leaps for a spike. The junior outside hitter will look to lead Northwestern to its first Big Ten victory this weekend.

Jonah Dylan, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story







Volleyball


Northwestern is quickly moving into must-win territory.

With a six game stretch looming against ranked Big Ten teams, including the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 teams in the country, the Wildcats (7-13, 0-8 Big Ten) need a momentum shift this weekend. NU takes on No. 24 Purdue (12-7, 2-6) on Friday and Indiana (13-8, 2-6) on Sunday.

“Anybody can beat anybody in the Big Ten,” junior middle blocker Gabrielle Hazen said. “We’ve always just kind of been on the losing side of it so far. They’re both beatable teams. We’re looking to beat both of them.”

Coach Shane Davis made some lineup changes in the third and final set last Saturday against Illinois and they seemed to pay off: The Cats scored 22 points, more than they had in a set in five matches. Davis inserted three freshmen — Sarah Johnson, Allie Lindroth and Emily Ehman — into the lineup. Lindroth had four kills, while Ehman had four digs.

Davis and junior outside hitter Symone Abbott were particularly bullish on Ehman’s play against the Fighting Illini.

“She just kind of came in and did her thing,” Abbott said. “Even though she’s not the person that we look to to get out there and do well … her doing well can incite the rest of us to do better.”

But NU is dealing with libero trouble. Sophomore Katie Kniep started the season as the squad’s libero, but has been out since Oct. 1 with a back injury. Senior outside hitter Rafae Strobos had been playing libero until she was replaced by Johnson in the third set against Illinois. Davis would not say who he plans to start against the Boilermakers.

Hazen said the team was excited with the way the freshmen played Saturday.

“We were all really excited for them to get that opportunity,” Hazen said. “It is a little bit of pressure for those people who are on the court because there are people on the bench that can come get the job done if you’re not.”

Davis said Lindroth, Johnson and Ehman will definitely see some playing time this weekend. He’ll have to decide whether to start Lindroth or stick with senior outside hitter Kayla Morin.

The Cats could have success against the Hoosiers. NU last won a set since when it played Indiana back on Sept. 21 in Bloomington. Abbott said the team definitely sees the game as an opportunity.

“We don’t have to play amazing, all we have to do is do our jobs to beat Indiana,” Abbott said. “If we’re going to beat (Purdue), we have to play our level of play, and they might have to play less than they usually are. I feel like with Indiana we have more control over the outcome.”

Although the Cats are still looking for their first Big Ten win, Hazen said they’re excited about their chances.

“Starting off 0-8 is obviously really tough mentally, but you’ve got to just look ahead and be like: ‘We have 12 games left. If we win out, that’s a great season,’” she said. “We’re just trying to stay positive and focus on the game ahead of us.”

Email: jonahdylan2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @thejonahdylan

Comments