Volleyball falls to UIC; Julian hits career milestone


Kody Kahle

NKU’s Jenna Ruble (17), Jayden Julian (21) and Taylor Snyder (11) celebrate a point during the Norse’s 3-0 win over Samford University. Northern Kentucky University won 3-0 against Samford University in the inaugural Northern Kentucky Volleyball Invitational on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 in Regents Hall in Highland Heights, Kentucky.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — The NKU women’s volleyball team lost to the University of Illinois-Chicago in their second Horizon League game of the year.

The loss extends the Norse losing streak to four games and leaves the ladies with a 0-2 record in conference play.

During the match, senior Jayden Julian recorded her thousandth career kill, becoming just the 17th player in NKU history to reach that milestone.

“It’s something every hitter strives to do,” Julian said, “It’s a great honor for me.”

She was honored with a game ball in a quick ceremony after the game and she will continue to chase the NKU record of 1,850, which is currently held by her head coach, Liz Hart.

The first set NKU came out firing, working around the physical presence of last year’s Horizon League player of the year for UIC, Stephenee Yancy, who ended the first set with 6 kills for the Flames. After starting the game down 5-2, the Norse worked the score back to 7-6 and won the set 25-21.

After dropping the second set 25-18, the Norse lead most of the third set and were up 18-15 when they forced UIC to call a timeout. UIC attacked right out of the timeout and fought back to tie the game at 23. The Norse then dropped the final two points to lose the set 25-23.

“It was deflating for us,” Coach Hart said, “We need to get a little tougher.”

The Norse fought hard the final set of the game, keeping the deficit within one or two points throughout and fought to tie the game at 24. Once again though, the Norse dropped the final two points to lose the set 26-24, and losing the match 3-1.  

The young team continues to struggle to execute and finish plays and sets, Hart said.

“The more experience we get the more confident we will get,” Hart said, “It’s easier to play when we believe in what we are doing.”

Mel Stewart, a senior, finished with 12 kills.

“We need to learn from every single game,” Stewart said. “It’s hard to play with no energy and that’s where we struggled the last three sets.”

Yancy recorded 26 kills for UIC, nearly twice as much as Tristen Simpson, who led the Norse with 12 kills for the game.

“She’s a stud,” Hart said.“We knew she was going to get her kills, but when we got the opportunity when she was off the court we needed to score more points.”

The Norse will continue to search for their first Horizon League victory next week, when they travel to Wisconsin to face University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.