Hawkeyes Open Season With 3-0 Win Over Nicholls State

Aug. 29, 2008

Box Score

Tuscaloosa, AL – The University of Iowa volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 win over Nicholls State Friday afternoon at the Hampton Inn/Bama Bash. The win was Head Coach Sharon Dingman’s first career victory at Iowa.

“It feels awesome to get that first win,” Dingman said. “Everyone contributed in a positive way, which is great to see. I thought Catherine (Smale) and Megan (Schipper) really looked like our veteran leaders and both played great matches.”

The Hawkeyes never trailed in the match and Nicholls State managed to force only one tie.

Iowa took the first set with ease, coming away with a 25-12 win. Sophomore Mara Hilgenberg served the first six points of the set to give the Hawkeyes a 6-0 lead, forcing Nicholls State to take a timeout. Later in the frame, Iowa went on a 9-4 run for a 17-7 advantage. Senior Kiley Fister added two more kills for a 22-9 lead and three-straight Nicholls State errors ended the stanza.

Set two was closer, but the Hawkeyes went to the locker room after a 25-20 win. Iowa stormed out to a 6-2 lead and eventually stretched its lead to 12-7. Nicholls State responded with a 4-0 run to bring the score to 12-11, but three-straight Hawkeye points made the score 15-11. The Colonels brought the score within one point once again at 19-18, but two-straight kills by senior Catherine Smale gave Iowa a three-point cushion at 21-18. After Nicholls State made the score 21-19, Smale and senior Laura Kremer recorded back-to-back kills followed by a Nicholls State error to bring up set point. The Colonels managed one point for a 24-20 score, but a cross-court rocket by Fister gave the Hawkeyes a 2-0 lead in the match.

The Hawkeyes wrapped up the sweep with a 25-19 win in the third set. After Nicholls State tied the set at 1-1, Iowa led by five or fewer points until a dominating 7-0 run, capped by three-straight Megan Schipper aces to make the score 21-10. Freshman Tiffany Nilges recorded her first career kill to make the score 22-11 and a double-block by freshman Mallory Husz and sophomore Aimee Huffman gave Iowa a commanding 23-11 lead. The Colonels made things interesting with an 8-0 run for a 23-19 score, but kills by Smale and Husz ended the match.

“We played pretty strong today and I think it showed,” Smale said. “We were all really anxious to get out and play an opponent. We had a lot of good things happen but we also have some things we need to work on. I think this team has a lot of potential and we are looking forward to the rest of the tournament.”

Iowa wraps up play at the Hampton Inn/Bama Bash Saturday. The Hawkeyes will face Western Kentucky at 11 a.m. followed by host-school Alabama at 7 p.m. Fans can follow both matches with Gametracker, which can be found on the volleyball schedule page of hawkeyesports.com. Fans can also watch a live video feed of the match against Alabama at www.rolltide.com.