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Volleyball: Wildcats sweep first three games, have yet to drop a set

Northwestern’s stellar underclassmen are clicking, and Temi is doing Temi things.

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The Northwestern volleyball team is off to a hot start to the 2022 season. Starting 3-0 for the first time since 2019, Shane Davis’ squad went undefeated in the Wildcats Classic, spanning Aug. 26 and 27, and did not surrender a single set along the way.

Senior outside hitter and 2021 B1G First Team member, Temi Thomas-Ailara picked up exactly where she left off last season. In the Wildcat’s first game of the season against University of the Pacific, Thomas-Ailara had 12 kills, three blocks and no errors. Junior setter Alexa Rousseau remained steady in the middle, recording 24 assists. Oh, and this also happened toward the end of the third set sending NU on its way to its first win of the season:

Fifth-year outside hitter Hanna Lesiak found her footing in the second game with 11 kills and two aces against UTEP. The Wildcats had 11 blocks in the game, with senior middle blocker Desiree Becker accounting for more than half. Rousseau once again had over 20 assists with libero Megan Miller tacking on nine of her own as well.

The Wildcats closed their opening slate against Northeastern. It was a welcome party for first-year Kathryn Randorf, whose back-to-back Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year awards ushered her into Evanston with high expectations. She finished the day with a team-leading 15 kills, the highest individual total for any Wildcat all tournament.

Northwestern dominated the game from start to finish, having 20 more kills, nearly 20 more assists, 20 more digs, triple the number of blocks, and four times the number of aces than the Huskies. Rousseau continued to dominate in the middle, recording a whopping 38 assists, 10 more than the Huskies the entire game. Upon the final whistle, Northwestern had recorded its highest single-match hitting percentage since 1998.

The Wildcats are back in action this weekend for three games in the Golden Eagle Invitational, opening on Friday versus the host Tennessee Tech at 10:30 A.M. CT. Their double header day commences with a matchup against Evansville at 5:00 P.M. CT, and they finish up on Saturday at 10:30 A.M. CT versus Western Carolina. All three matchups will be televised on ESPN+.