Sept. 20, 2008
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- Iowa `Volleyblog’
IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa team (8-4) handed Tulsa only its second loss of the season (13-2), 25-12, 25-11, 25-21, to claim the 2008 Hawkeye-Holiday Inn Challenge championship Saturday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Senior Catherine Smale was named the Challenge’s Most Valuable Player while senior Emily Hiza was named the Best Libero of the Challenge. Junior Megan Schipper and sophomore Aimee Huffman were also named to the all-tournament team.
“This was a great way to wrap up the weekend,” Head Coach Sharon Dingman said. “We played a tough Tulsa team and the players were very happy to win their own tournament. This is a fantastic way to build momentum for next weekend. Competition in the Big Ten will be tough, but we are ready for the challenge.”
Iowa has now swept four-straight matches, which a Hawkeye squad hasn’t accomplished since the 2000 season.
The Hawkeyes dominated Tulsa in every statistical category en route to the championship. Iowa out-hit the Golden Hurricane, .386-.087 and collected nine blocks to Tulsa’s three. Iowa also collected 19 more assists and 13 more digs along with eight service aces.
Iowa’s outside hitters put up some eye-popping numbers, with Schipper leading the way at 14 kills and hit at a career-high .545 clip. Smale had 10 kills while Huffman had six kills on eight swings with a career-high .625 attack percentage. Senior Kiley Fister had a team-best 31 kills and a career-best five block assists while Hiza had 17 digs.
The Hawkeyes started strong, using five kills from senior Laura Kremer and four kills from Schipper to take the first set, 25-12.
Iowa took an early 7-4 lead and powered through a 6-1 run to take a 13-5 advantage. The Hawkeyes put the set away with ease after Tulsa made the score 18-12, using a commanding 7-0 run to wrap up the first set.
The Hawkeye hitters were on fire in the second stanza, blasting kills at a .773 clip (18 kills, one error, 22 attempts). Schipper dominated the frame, collecting six kills on seven swings with no errors and hit at an .857. Smale tallied four kills (.500 attack percentage) while Huffman was a perfect three-for-three. Iowa used kills by Schipper and Kremer for an early 5-3 lead and kept Tulsa in check, stretching the advantage to 13-9. Tulsa ended a 5-1 Hawkeye run with a kill at 18-11, but Iowa stormed to the set win, using a 7-0 surge to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Tulsa showed some fight in the third set, but the Hawkeyes rallied for the sweep. Schipper had four kills in the frame while Huffman added three.
Iowa never trailed in the set and took a commanding 20-11 lead midway through the frame. Tulsa then went on a 5-2 run to make the score 22-16 and then used a 5-0 run to make things interesting at 24-21. Schipper quieted the Tulsa bench and brought the Hawkeye fans to their feet with a solid kill to end the match.
Iowa opens Big Ten play at home next weekend by hosting nationally-ranked Wisconsin Friday night. First serve is set for 7 p.m.