Oct. 8, 2004
The Iowa (9-8, 1-4) volleyball team knows how Northwestern (6-9, 1-4) feels tonight after getting a Big Ten win over the Hawks. After all, Iowa has struggled the last few years to earn any wins in the Big Ten conference, so they can empathize with the Wildcats who came into tonight’s match 0-4 in the conference. Unfortunately, Northwestern’s win came at the expense of an Iowa team that suffered its fourth consecutive loss, 2-3 (22-30, 30-21, 30-28, 18-30, 10-15).
The first game of the match was close until Northwestern pulled ahead to a 20-15 lead. Laura Simpson earned a kill to halt the momentum, but Iowa had a service error that gave the ball back to the visitors. The difference in the rest of the game was the Wildcats ability to string together a few points at a time when they had the serve. They won the game 30-22.
In game two, Iowa was the team that put consecutive points on the board. In fact, Justeen Patton served for six points for the Hawks on the way to the 30-21 victory. As a team, Iowa hit .485 with freshman Stacy Vitali picking up nine kills Patton was credited with 12 assists. Simpson and Giese each had two block assists.
Game three also was won by the Hawkeyes, but they had to come from behind to win 30-28. The Wildcats jumped out to a 10-3 advantage, when a service error led to several points for Iowa. Vitali picked up a kill to knot the score at 24 apiece, and the teams traded points from there to 28-28. Tiana Costanzo attacked for the Hawks 29th point and they won the match on a hitting error by Leah Delcourt.
Vitali again led Iowa’s hitters with five kills in game three. Kavadas and Costanzo each had four digs. Both squads had three blocks.
Iowa was just one game away from picking up their second Big Ten match in the fourth game, but Northwestern wasn’t ready to concede to the home team. The score was 5-5 when Northwestern went on a five-point run to go up 10-5. They lead for the entire game after that and won handily 30-18.
The Hawks again had problems hitting efficiently, and had only a .106 attacking percentage. The Wildcats hit .302 as a team. Costanzo had five kills for the Hawkeyes, but the team had seven hitting errors, one blocking error, and three serving miscues.
With the momentum on their side, Northwestern charged out to a 10-5 lead in the final game of the match. Iowa could only pull within three points, down 10-7, but that was as close as it came as Brittney Aldridge found a hole for a kill and the Wildcats won the game 15-10.
Three hitters had double-digit kills for Iowa. Stacy Vitali had 19, Carolyn Giese had 14, and Tiana Costanzo had 13. Justeen Patton set up 45 successful attacks and Pam Kavadas had 23 digs. Errors, however, plagued the team in many categories. The Hawks had 28 hitting mistakes, eight serving errors and six blocking errors. They finished with a .188 hitting percentage for the match. They were also outdone at the net with only seven blocks compared to 11 by Northwestern.
“I don’t know if we thought that Northwestern was just going to hand us the match, but we didn’t come to play or to win tonight,” said Coach Cindy Fredrick. “Our blocking in general was not there, and our right side blockers aren’t getting the job done in particular. We are reacting, instead of charging ahead against teams. We just aren’t serving tough, we’re not hitting hard, and we just need to have more balance in our play and more balance in hitting.”
Iowa hosts Wisconsin in Big Ten play tomorrow night. The match will be held in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and will start at 7 p.m.