HOUSTON – For just the second time this year Northwestern State volleyball lost a second match in a row, falling to Houston Baptist on Saturday 3-1.
The Lady Demons (18-10, 10-4 SLC) could not find the consistency they had in the weeks leading up to their rematch with the Huskies, hitting over .130 in just the second, the only set they won in the match.
“We were inconsistent today for a few different reasons, but all are correctable or avoidable in the future,” coach Sean Kiracfoe said. “HBU stepped up at home, but the bright side is that we were right there to push it to five while not being at our best. We had a lot of fight at the end of the fourth and just came up a couple points shy of taking back control.”
HBU pulled away early in the opening set, using a 5-0 run to establish an 11-6 lead that the Lady Demons could not overcome. NSU got within a pair late in the set at 18-16 after two kills from Hannah Brister, but an HBU timeout and 7-3 sprint to the finish gave the first set to the home team.
The Lady Demons worked their way back in the second after trailing from the beginning. Another Brister kill evened the set at 16, but the Huskies retook the lead on a 3-0 run that put them up 21-19 late.
Back-to-back blocks from Brister and Reagan Lee gave all the momentum to the Lady Demons, who ended the second on a 6-1 run with Alexis Warren throwing down the set winner to even the match at one set each. NSU hit a match-best .216 in the second with just four attack errors, its best totals in each category in the match.
Tied at 12 in the pivotal third set, HBU found the spark it wanted that the Lady Demons could not recover from. NSU scored just two kills from that point on as the Huskies continued to find the right spots in service and attacks, taking a 13-3 run to a 2-1 match lead. Seven points came from kills, three from NSU errors, and three from aces including the set winner.
An early 7-2 stretch by the Huskies in the fourth set kept the momentum in their corner, taking a 10-6 lead. The lead swelled to nine in the blink of an eye thanks to another lengthy scoring run by HBU, this time 8-2.
Faced with a 23-16 deficit that Lady Demons showed the resilience they’ve had all season in tough, back-against-the-wall situations. Five straight NSU points forced an HBU timeout as the fourth set turned into a close one at 23-20. Another error made it a two-point set before HBU finally found the offense and kills they wanted to take the match on their senior day.
Brister led all players with 19 kills and became the NSU single-season record holder for kills, blowing by Christina Stone’s 2002 mark of 431, and that now currently stands at 443, with at least three more matches in the season.
Senior libero Megan Lohmiller had 27 digs, giving her 457 on the season, eighth most in a single season. She needs 43 more digs to be just the fourth player to ever reach 500 in a season.
NSU returns to Prather Coliseum next week for a pair of matches to close the regular season starting with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday night.
Cutline: Hannah Brister breaks the NSU record for kills in a season of 431, with a 19-kill outing at HBU.
Photo Credit: Gary Hardaman