Northwestern had a rough homecoming weekend after losing against two top 10 teams in the nation, leaving the ‘Cats in the midst of an eight game losing streak.
On Friday, Oct. 12 the ‘Cats (10-10, 0-8) travelled to Madison to match up against the #8 Wisconsin Badgers (12-4, 5-3), but lost the match in a tiring defeat. Taking all three sets (25-13, 25-14 and 25-15), Wisconsin fought back every time Northwestern threatened their lead. Allowing zero aces, the Badgers received almost every hit and recovered from many errors while the ‘Cats struggled to play notable defense against their heavy hitters.
While Nia Robinson is ranked third in the Big 10 in kills per set with 4.11, the Badgers blocked many of her attempts while the ‘Cats left her unprotected. The team faltered with a lack of communication on many plays, allowing the Badgers to score preventable points.
Aiming for a drastic improvement from their Friday night game, the Wildcats drove to Minneapolis to take on the #10 Minnesota Gophers (14-2, 8-0). Ranked first in the B1G, the Gophers made the ‘Cats work especially hard but pulled out wins in all three sets and won 25-12, 25-22 and 25-19.
The ‘Cats earned four aces compared to the Gophers’ one. However, Northwestern’s defense didn’t step up when it mattered most; the ‘Cats recorded three blocks compared to Minnesota’s twelve. Alana Walker, Robinson and Abryanna Cannon lead the team in kills, and Britt Bommer played one of her best games, contributing 28 assists and 12 digs.
The Wildcats are set to play at home against Michigan State (15-6, 3-5) and #7 Michigan (16-2, 5-2) this coming weekend.