Nov. 3, 2006
IOWA CITY – In a tight match, the University of Iowa volleyball team was edged by the Illinois Fighting Illini, 3-1, Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa (13-12, 2-11) came flying out of the gates to take game one 30-19, then fell in three-consecutive tight games, 30-28, 31-29 and 39-37.
Sophomore outside hitter Catherine Smale led all hitters with 23 kills, while adding 15 digs and hitting at a .333 clip. Iowa got good play from the middle, with Jen Barcus pounding out 15 kills and seven blocks, while Melanie Meister had 12 kills and six blocks.
“Catherine had a great game for us, and Barcus and Meister gave us good offense and a strong block,” Iowa Head Coach Cindy Fredrick said. “We can’t ask for more from our middle blockers. We struggled on the right side tonight, and we really need to get that going.”
The Hawkeyes came out firing in the first game, out-hitting the Illini .325 to .068. Barcus was particularly effective in game one, getting five kills and hitting at a .714 clip. Iowa never trailed after racing to an 8-2 lead. The Hawkeyes took their first double-digit lead at 18-8 with an Illini error, and held it the rest of the way.
Iowa looked to keep the momentum in game two, and took a 10-7 lead early. Illinois began to chip away, and a Stephanie Alde kill gave them the lead at 18-17. A Smale kill immediately tied things up again, but a pair of errors put Iowa in a 20-18 hole and forced a timeout. The Hawkeyes came out of the break fired up and took a 22-21 lead, but Illinois responded with a kill and an ace to grab a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
In game three, Iowa got down early and didn’t get its first lead until 25-24. The two teams traded points on the next nine points, but a pair of Hawkeye errors eventually gave the Illini a 31-29 win.
Game four was a wild affair, featuring eight lead changes and 19 ties. In the end, Illinois fended off a pair of game points, while Iowa fended off six before finally succumbing on a kill by Rachel Henderson.
Iowa returns to action tomorrow night with a game against Northwestern. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
MATCH SUMMARYIllinois 19 30 30 30IOWA 30 28 29 37