Nov. 6, 2004
The Hawkeye volleyball team (9-17, 1-13) dropped a three game match tonight to sixth-ranked Penn State (21-2, 12-2). Iowa lost 30-23, 30-17, and 30-19.
Communication was the key in the first game for Iowa. The Hawkeyes went up 4-1 on a service ace by Pam Kavadas and led by three points several times in the game. Penn State, however, showed why they are number six in the country and after taking a 17-16 didn’t look back on the way to the 30-23 victory.
“In the first game we looked really well,” said Iowa Coach Cindy Fredrick. “We had good blocking and some really good hits.” Laura Simpson had four kills and two blocks to lead the Hawkeyes. Carolyn Giese also chipped in two blocks.
Whatever troubles Penn State had in the first game they worked out in time for game two. They jumped out to a 12-4 lead on a kill by freshman phenom Kate Price, who had eight kills in the game. The Nittany Lions controlled the pace from the start and went on to win 30-17.
Iowa hit just .077 as a team in the second game, with Tiana Costanzo coming down with four kills.
“After the first game, Penn State elevated their game,” said Fredrick. “Our problem is that we’re just not elevating with people and we’re not making the necessary adjustments. They doubled blocked Carolyn in the middle every time and our outside hitters just weren’t able to get it done.”
In the third game, Penn State again had a decisive 14-7 advantage, but a kill by Carolyn Giese cut down the margin to 14-9. With the Hawks trailing 20-13, the Lions put together an impressive run to lead 24-14. Iowa held off the inevitable for a few more minutes, but an attacking error gave the game to Penn State, 30-19.
“We had too many unforced hitting errors, which is always a problem for us,” said Fredrick. “Our blocking at some points was really good, but then our back row didn’t cover the tip. That’s simply a matter of reading and communicating and we’re not doing it.”
Leading the Hawkeyes on the night was Laura Simpson with ten kills, one solo block, and three block assists. Tiana Costanzo was next with eight hits and nine digs. Justeen Patton connected for 30 assists and also had two kills. Pam Kavadas continues to lead Iowa in the digging category; the senior libero had 18 digs on the night.
On a positive note, the Hawkeyes outblocked the Lions six to four. However, as a team, Iowa had a .116 hitting percentage to Penn State’s .333. Iowa also struggled with serve reception, giving up seven aces to Penn State. The Hawkeyes had three ace serves in the match.
“We played two of the top teams in our conference, and in the country this weekend,” said Fredrick. “I am really proud that our kids are not quitting and that they’re still fighting in every match.”
Next weekend the Hawkeyes hit the road to take on Michigan State and Michigan. Iowa’s only conference win came over Michigan State by a score of 3-1 on September 25.