Sept. 10, 2004
BEAUMONT, TX – While most players look forward to early season tournaments because they’re ready to take-on someone other than their teammates, coaches use tournaments to evaluate what areas of the game need improvement. Coming into the Lamar Cardinal Classic today, Iowa coach Cindy Fredrick wanted to see her players do a better job of on-court communicating.
Fredrick’s team was still pretty quiet in their first game and the Georgia State Panthers exploited the weakness to jump out to an 8-2 lead. After a bit of instruction from the sidelines and an early time-out, the Hawkeyes got the message. The result was a momentum swing in their favor and an eventual 19-17 lead. While Iowa’s communication started to improve, Georgia State’s composure faulted and Iowa took advantage of several free balls to take a 22-19 lead. Freshman Stacy Vitali and senior Laura Simpson were two Hawks that punished the Panthers with six and five kills, respectively. Vitali slammed down the final point of the game to give Iowa the 30-25 victory.
Strong blocking in game two helped Iowa pull ahead to an 11-6 lead, but Georgia State’s Ana Paula Ferreira helped to turn the tide with a cross-court kill for a side-out. The Panther’s defense shrunk the Hawkeye lead to two points and then took a 14-13 lead on a double-block. A kill by Tiana Costanzo tied the score and Pam Kavadas served an ace to give the lead back to the Hawks, forcing the Panthers to call a time-out trailing 17-15. Whatever Georgia State coach Mike Webster said worked as his team took a 25-21 lead enroute to a 32-30 victory.
With the match tied one game each, both squads played aggressively in the third game. The Hawkeyes lead 18-12 when Lauren Bruckner went behind the line to serve two quick points, but the momentum halted when miscommunication turned into several points for the Panthers. Clinging to a 21-17 lead, Chelsey Garrett and Carolyn Giese teamed up for a quick kill to give Iowa the ball and moments later Iowa was up 27-18. Georgia State didn’t rollover, though, and rattled off eight straight points of their own to make the score, 27-25, but Iowa escaped with the 30-28 victory on an errant serve.
Knowing they had to win game four to stay in the match, Georgia State jumped out to take an 8-1 lead. Miscommunication and four team serving errors handicapped Iowa’s comeback effort in the beginning of the game. After a time-out Iowa came back to tie the score at 16, but the Panthers responded with a run of their own to lead 28-23. Georgia State’s Robyn Van Dam forced a fifth game when she slammed home a kill for the 30-27 win.
Outside hitter Vitali continued to have a break-out match as she connected for three kills to help give Iowa a 7-4 advantage in the final game. Jacqueline Huguelet dropped in a tip right behind a Panther block for a side-out and a 11-7 lead. The Hawkeyes stuffed the Panthers for two more points and Giese ended the game, 15-7, with a kill off a block.
Vitali lead Iowa with 23 kills and hit at a .294 clip. Giese was next with 18 kills. Garrett connected with her hitters 67 times in the match. Kavadas had 41 digs for the Hawks.
The Hawkeyes hit most efficiently in the fifth game of the match with a .556 hitting percentage as a team. For the match they hit .209 compared to a .162 hitting percentage by Georgia State. Iowa had 11.5 team blocks compared to just 4 by Georgia State. Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes also lead in two error categories – they had 12 serving mistakes and ten serve receive errors compared to nine service errors and seven receiving errors by the Panthers.
“This was a really gutsy win for us,” said Fredrick. “We were running a different offense with Laura in the middle because of Megan Gatens being sick and we didn’t get to practice it much this week. As a team, though, we really responded well. Pam did a great job of digging and Stacy was really effective on the outside.”