Sept. 23, 2005
EVANSTON, IL – The University of Iowa volleyball team opened the 2005 Big Ten season with a 3-0 win over the Northwestern Wildcats in Welsh-Ryan Arena Friday. The Hawkeyes won by scores of 30-26, 30-24 and 30-28. It is the first time since 2000 Iowa opened Big Ten play with a win, and the first time in the program’s history the team has opened conference play with a sweep.
Freshman outside hitter Catherine Smale led the way for Iowa, recording 19 kills and hitting at a .429 clip for the game. Sophomore outside hitter Stacy Vitali hit a team-best .519 and had 15 kills.
After going down 0-1 on the first serve in game one, Iowa tied things up with a Smale kill and never looked back. The freshman outside hitter was a force for the Hawkeyes, pounding out nine kills and hitting .438 for the game.
Iowa controlled the game from the outset, but every time they looked to put the Wildcats away, Northwestern would mount a comeback. The Hawkeyes never allowed the Wildcats to come within less than two, however, and sealed the game with a kill from Smale.
In game two, the Hawkeyes took an early lead, only to have Northwestern come storming back to take an 11-12 lead. Iowa remained close, and a block by Smale and Melanie Meister gave the Hawkeyes a 20-19 lead. Once again, Northwestern came back to gain a 23-22 advantage, but three-consecutive Wildcat errors gave Iowa a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The Hawkeyes went on a 7-2 run to end the game and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Game three was a back-and-forth battle with the teams trading the lead most of the game. Iowa managed to take a 29-25 advantage on a Northwestern service error, but the Wildcats fought off three game-points before finally succumbing.
The game was played in a good environment for Iowa, with a good part of the Welsh-Ryan Arena crowd cheering for the Hawkeyes. Iowa has five players from the Chicagoland area.
Iowa will return to action Sunday when the team faces the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, WI. Gametime is set for 1 p.m. at the Wisconsin Field Hocuse.
GAME SUMMARYIOWA 30 30 30Northwestern 26 24 28