Sept. 25, 2004
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The Iowa volleyball team returned many players from last year’s squad, but it is not the same team. One look at their 9-4 record shows one obvious difference. Whatever changes have been made on the Iowa team culminated tonight in a Big Ten win against Michigan State in four games (30-25, 28-30, 30-17, 30-20).
The win against the Spartans was the first for the Hawks since November of 2000 when they won in five games in East Lansing. The last win in Iowa City was in 1994, which was also the last time that an Iowa volleyball team made it to the NCAA tournament. The Hawks this year are simply looking to build on this win and take it one match at a time.
In the first game, the score was knotted several times including 16-16, when Iowa went on a run to take a 24-17 lead. During that run Pam Kavadas and Jacqueline Huguelet served for three and four points, respectively. The closest Michigan State came within the game after that was at 28-23. Huguelet ended the game with a kill from the outside, give the Hawks the 30-24 victory.
With Michigan State reeling from game one, Iowa rolled out to a 24-16 lead. With victory just a few short points away, the Spartans came back into view on three consecutive hitting errors by the Hawks. Iowa was clinging to a 27-25 lead when senior Kim Schram took control and hammered down four kills on the way to a 30-28 victory for Michigan State.
“During the intermission I reminded the girls that we just had to continue to play our game,” said Iowa coach Cindy Fredrick. “Three players just needed to make some adjustments and that was all that needed to be said.”
The adjustments worked. In the fourth game, the score was tight in the beginning but Iowa slowly added a few points at a time to build a 22-13 lead. Senior Laura Simpson took a set from Justeen Patton to give Iowa the 30-17 victory.
The final game was a rally up until Iowa led 23-12, but then the home team went on a short roll. With Patton behind the serving line, Iowa tallied four straight points including kills by Simpson and Stacy Vitali. The Spartans didn’t give up, but Iowa was able to score a few points at a time on the way to th
e 30-20 win.
Vitali was the kill leader for Iowa with 22. The freshman outside hitter hit at a .442 clip. Carolyn Giese added 15 kills, and Huguelet and Costanzo contributed 12 and 11, respectively. Patton had 53 assists in the game. Kavadas continued her chase of the all-time digs record with 29 in tonight’s match. She now has 1225 digs, giving her the 6th time on the list. As a team Iowa had six blocks and five service aces.
“Serving really made the difference in the match. Our serving was phenomenal. It makes a difference when I can call the serves and everyone is able to place them – it really pulled them out of their offense,” said Fredrick. “Justeen did a great job distributing her sets and the hitters did a good job of knocking them down. Our blocking and defense also played excellent. Without a doubt, this was the best that we’ve played all season. Every aspect of the game was there.”
Iowa (9-4, 1-1) hopes to keep winning in the Big Ten next weekend as they travel to Penn State and Ohio State. The Hawks will play Penn State on Friday, October 1 at 6 p.m. and face the Buckeyes on Saturday, also at 6 p.m.