Aug. 27, 2005
IOWA CITY –
The University of Iowa volleyball team won a pair of games Saturday, taking a thrilling five-game set against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and sweeping Drake in the Hawkeye-Holiday Inn Challenge.
“This was a good start to our season,” Head Coach Cindy Fredrick said. “When you can come out of your first weekend undefeated, it is a real confidence booster for your team. I was especially proud of how our freshmen handled themselves this weekend. With a young team, you never know how they are going to react to their first taste of competition. I thought the team chemistry from both the upperclassmen and our younger players was great.”
Iowa (2-0) came out firing in the first two games against Wisconsin-Milwaukee with convincing 30-17 and 30-18 wins. The Panthers wouldn’t go away, however, and rallied after the intermission to take the next two 30-19 and 30-23 and force the pivotal game five.
The Hawkeyes came out hungry in the final game, blowing the Panthers off the court 15-5 to take the match.
Megan Gatens served the Hawkeyes to a 6-0 lead before Wisconsin-Milwaukee managed to cut the lead to 10-5. Freshman Kiley Fister held serve the rest of the way, adding a pair of aces for emphasis while closing things out.
Sophomore Stacy Vitali had a team-best 14 kills against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and hit at a .345 clip. Junior Tiana Costanzo added 13 kills, while Fister ended the match with 39 assists.
Against Drake, the Hawkeyes cruised to a comfortable three-game sweep by scores of 30-22, 30-18 and 30-20.
In game one against the Bulldogs, the game remained relatively close most of the way, with Iowa never pulling more than four points ahead until Fister served out the final four points to give the Hawkeyes the win.
In game two, Iowa jumped out to an 8-1 lead behind strong serving from Fister and Costanzo. The Hawkeyes held a comfortable lead the rest of the way, and a pair of Drake attack errors gave Iowa the 30-18 win.
In the finale, the game remained neck-and-neck through the beginning, with a Vitali kill breaking a 10-10 tie. Iowa started to slowly pull away, and a Gatens kill gave the Hawkeyes the win and sent the 681-person crowd into a frenzy.
Carver-Hawkeye Arena was bolstered by the team’s Wings Program, which brings in fans from Hillcrest, Slater, Reno and Quad dormitories.
“The atmosphere was great tonight,” Fredrick said. “You could really tell how the new setup gets the fans right in the action. They were a big part of our success tonight.”
The Hawkeyes were well represented on the all-tournament team, with Fister, Vitali and Emily Hiza making the squad and Costanzo named tournament MVP.
Iowa will hit the road next weekend and play in the Marquette Tournament in Milwaukee, WI.