BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – The Northwestern Lady Tigers fell one match short in its bid for a conference championship. During the Hoosier Conference Tournament, Northwestern downed West Lafayette and Western before falling to Lafayette Central Catholic in the finals.
In the quarterfinals, the Tigers knocked off Western Lafayette 25-18, 25-12 before coming back in the semifinals for a cross-county win over Western 28-26, 25-12. The Lady Tigers then faced Class 1A No. 1 Lafayette Central Catholic, falling 25-12, 25-16 on the championship match.
“We finished second in the conference for the second year in a row,” said Northwestern head coach Lorri Schuler. “Our first two matches we stayed aggressive throughout each set. We fell behind in each set to LCC and although we made some nice runs we could not overcome our unforced errors.”
During the tournament, the Lady Tigers were led by Madison Layden with 29 kills and 18 digs, Jenna Goodspeed with 25 kills and 14 digs, Kendal Rooze with 56 assists and Stephanie Burns with nine kills and six blocks.
Earlier in the week, Northwestern Athletic Director Dan Armstrong honored Schuler, Rooze and Layden for reaching milestones. Schuler earned her 300th varsity victory during a four-set win against Tipton. Layden, a junior, was presented a plaque for her 1,000th career kill and classmate Rooze was awarded a 1,000 career assist plaque.
“Northwestern is blessed to have great female athletes in all of our sports,” said Schuler. “They make coaching easy. What makes Madison’s accomplishment so special is that as a freshman she set four rotations for us and as a sophomore she set three rotations. She is a very efficient hitter.”
Northwestern is currently 22-6.