For the first time since 2001 - the last time NIU hosted the Mid-American Tournament - NIU volleyball claimed the MAC Volleyball Tournament as it defeated No. 1 seed Miami in straight sets, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20. The NCAA Tournament berth is NIU's seventh all-time and its first since 2011.
Senior Mary Grace Kelly led the Huskies with 17 points on 11 kills, three aces and four blocks to earn Tournament MVP honors while Jenna Radtke amassed 10 kills, four blocks and a team-best four service aces to collect All-Tournament accolades as well.
The tournament championship was the first under Head Coach Ray Gooden.
After building an early 6-2 lead in the opening set, Miami rallied to even the match and take a 7-6 lead, however, NIU showed great resolve to reclaim its lead and build another substantial advantage. The Huskies would win the set by seven points, 25-18, as their swings at the service line charged through the RedHawks return, tallying five aces, including two-straight by Kelly to end the set.
The Huskies changed their style in the second frame, focused on keeping the RedHawks off balance and their offense out of rhythm. NIU stuffed five of Miami's attempts and forced its foes into nine total errors in the set, allowing them to hit just .092.
The Huskies strong resolve carried through the rest of the match, battling through 18 ties and eight lead changes, as the squads went kill for kill. However, NIU's service and blocking continued to feed the team and proved the difference on the scoreboard.
NIU won the second and third sets by identical 25-20 scores and powered through in the third stanza despite being outhit by the RedHawks, 382-343.
The Huskies finished with 10 blocks and nine service aces while leading Miami in kills, 44-40.