The Northwestern (9-11, 0-8 Big Ten) volleyball team has had a rough season so far. After losing to No. 7 Minnesota (13-3, 7-1) and No. 6 Wisconsin (12-4, 8-0), the team now has an eight-game losing streak.
On Friday, the Wildcats went to Minneapolis to play against the Golden Gophers, getting defeated 3-0 in sets. With a hitting percentage of .098 compared to Minnesota’s .351, the 'Cats had too many errors and played poorly against the top ten team. Compared to her past few games, Temi Thomas-Ailara had less success, making 12 kills, closely followed by Alana Walker who had 10 kills.
After a difficult night, Northwestern had a rematch against Wisconsin and lost 3-0, the same result as when they met earlier this month. Although the sets were closer than those against Minnesota, with Northwestern battling 22-25, 21-25 and 17-25, the ‘Cats still were no match against the Badgers. With 19 errors but an improved hitting percentage of .156, the team stumbled to make it past Wisconsin's aggressive defense. Again, Thomas-Airlara contributed 12 kills and Walker contributed 10.
As a team, the Wildcats have had poor defense. Against Minnesota, the 'Cats had two blocks compared to the Gophers’ nine, but they improved this week by having more players contribute to the board. Whereas in the past few weeks Thomas-Ailara has carried the team substantially in kills, this weekend Walker brought back the strength she had last season and contributed almost as much as Thomas-Ailara.
The Wildcats didn’t get their first conference win this weekend, and now they will face Maryland (11-9, 3-5) at home on Wednesday. Last year, Northwestern lost against Maryland 3-1 — with Maryland playing strongly against ranked teams, they will be tough to overcome.