Towson rolls over Northeastern
When Towson took on Northeastern Sunday afternoon, it was a game of redemption.
The last time the two teams faced off, last season, Towson (21-3, 8-0 CAA) had a two-set lead before Northeastern (17-5, 6-2 CAA) came back to win three straight and take the match, eliminating the Tigers’ hopes of a first-place Colonial Athletic Association finish.
“That’s what made us not get a bye in playoffs,” co-captain junior outside hitter Katy Buck said. “That was just a rough loss.”
This time around, it was Towson who took control of the match early and clawed its way to a 3-0 win, making it the first time since 2005 that the Tigers were able to beat the Huskies.
“Anytime you take a 3-0 win against a quality team like Northeastern, you’ve got to be happy,” Head Coach Bruce Atkinson said.
One of the biggest obstacles the team had to face was the height of Northeastern’s block. Northeastern recorded three single blocks, 18 block assists and 12 team blocks while Towson had 16 block assists and eight team blocks.
Atkinson said the Tigers are still working on perfecting their blocking.
“We’re a team who’s working everyday to become better,” he said. “I think the last two matches we’ve done a better job with our block and I think that we’ll continue to improve. If we end up meeting these teams again in tournament play, our block will be better.”
Hitting past Northeastern’s block was also a challenge for the Tigers.
“We just had to be smart about it,” junior middle blocker I’ishah Keliikoa said. “We have hitters that can bang the ball, but you have to be a smart hitter and I think it’s really good to go against a big block because the top teams have big blockers. It’s really good practice for the conference tournament.”
For the first two sets, the Tigers started out strong, pulling ahead of the Huskies but would hit a point where they let Northeastern battle back.
But in the third set, Northeastern jumped to an early lead and Towson was forced to battle back.
“We thought we had it. We knew we had to come out strong and they jumped all over us and we didn’t expect that,” Keliikoa said. “We thought that they were just going to fall over like a dog, because they’re the Huskies, but they did a good job coming out on us and we did a better job just coming back point by point and not going crazy about it.”
The third set showed how much more resilient this season’s team is than last year, Atkinson said.
“I think they have more confidence,” he said. “They feel they don’t have to play their best game to be able to win.”
With the win, Towson remains undefeated in the CAA with only four games to play in the regular season.
“It was a great win. We’ve been preparing for this pretty much all season and now we’ve beat everyone in conference so it feels pretty good,” Buck said.
Towson also defeated Hofstra (14-13, 2-6 CAA) Friday 3-0.