Oct. 14, 2005
The University of Iowa volleyball team got their second road sweep of the Big Ten season Friday, topping the Illinois Fighting Illini 30-27, 30-26 and 35-33 in Champaign, IL. Iowa upped its record to 13-7 (3-4), while Illinois fell to 11-7 (2-5).
After falling behind early in game one, the Hawkeyes mounted an impressive comeback to take the opener. Junior middle blocker Melanie Meister tied things up at 23-23 with an unassisted kill, then gave the Hawkeyes their first lead since 2-1 with a solo block of Illinois star hitter Rachel Van Meter. Iowa held the lead the rest of the way and ended things by forcing a pair of Illini errors.
The Hawkeyes took the game despite being out-hit .298 to .140. Iowa won the game at the line, recording four service aces to Illinois’ two, while committing just one service error compared to the Illinis’ seven.
Iowa carried the momentum into game two, racing out to a 10-4 lead that forced the Fighting Illlini into a timeout. The Fighting Illini slowly clawed their way back into the game, eventually cutting the Hawkeye lead to a point at 20-19 and forcing Iowa into a timeout. Illinois tied things up immediately after the timeout, but Iowa came back to reclaim the lead and forced the Fighting Illini into a timeout of their own by stretching the lead to 25-22.
The teams went back-and-forth the rest of the way, with Iowa ending things on a block from Megan Gatens and Kiley Fister. The Hawkeyes finished game two hitting .355, one of their best performances of the season.
Game three started off as a back-and-forth affair until Illinois rattled off five-consecutive points to take a 12-7 lead and force the Hawkeyes into a timeout. Iowa came back strong after the timeout, eventually tying the game at 15-15. From that point on, the two teams traded the lead regularly. Each team fought off multiple game points before a Catherine Smale kill and an attack error by Illinois gave the Hawkeyes a 35-33 win and the match.
Smale led the Hawkeyes with 13 kills. Meister had eight kills and a .375 attack percentage, while Gatens added four kills and a team-best .400 attack percentage.
Iowa returns to action tomorrow night when it heads to West Lafayette, IN, for a road contest against the No. 21 Purdue Boilermakers. The match is scheduled for 8 p.m.