Sept. 26, 2008
- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
- Iowa volleyball wallpaper
- Iowa `Volleyblog’
IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa volleyball team opened Big Ten play on a high note, upsetting No. 18 Wisconsin in impressive fashion, 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-10). The Hawkeyes have now won six-straight matches and have swept their last five opponents. Iowa moves to 9-4 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play while the Badgers drop to 10-3 overall and 0-1 in conference action.
“This was a great win for our team,” Head Coach Sharon Dingman said. “The players were determined to close out the match in that third set. We came into the match ready to compete and it showed on the court. We had tremendous hustle on the court all night. We need to enjoy this win tonight, but we have a tough match tomorrow against Northwestern.”
Dingman wasted no time picking up her first Big Ten win as a Hawkeye. This is only the third time this decade that an Iowa volleyball team opened the conference season with a win and the six-match winning streak is the second-longest since 2000. Iowa has also won 15-straight sets, which hasn’t happened since the 1990 squad collected 18-straight set wins. Friday’s win was also the first time since 1994 that Iowa has knocked off Wisconsin. The Badgers had collected 26-straight wins over Iowa before Friday’s upset win.
“The atmosphere tonight was amazing and the team was thrilled in the locker room after the win,” senior Catherine Smale said. “We knew coming out of the locker room that we could win the third set and pull of the upset. Our coaches gave us great confidence and we can’t wait to get back on the court tomorrow night.”
Smale led the Hawkeyes with 12 kills while junior Megan Schipper chipped in six. Senior Laura Kremer and sophomore Aimee Huffman had five kills, while Kremer added eight total blocks (two solo, six assists). Senior Kiley Fister led the team with 19 assists while sophomore Mara Hilgenberg had nine assists and four hustling digs. Senior libero Emily Hiza had a team-high 11 digs. The Hawkeyes held Wisconsin to just a .100 attack percentage and out-blocked the Badgers, 9.5-4.5.
“This was a great win for our team. The players were determined to close out the match in that third set. We came into the match ready to compete and it showed on the court. We had tremendous hustle on the court all night. We need to enjoy this win tonight, but we have a tough match tomorrow against Northwestern.”
Iowa never trailed in the first set, taking the frame by a 25-23 margin. Smale tallied five of her 12 kills and all four of her digs in the set.
The Hawkeyes stormed out of the gates, using great serves by Fister to take an early 7-1 lead, forcing the Badgers to take a timeout. Wisconsin battled back and later came within two points at 16-14, but a Smale kill after a Hawkeye timeout mad the score 17-14. Iowa held off numerous Wisconsin attacks and maintained its advantage throughout the frame. Wisconsin came within one after an Iowa attack error made the count 23-22, but kills from Huffman and Smale gave Iowa the early lead.
Set No. 2 started tight, but the Hawkeyes used a late surge for a 25-19 win.
The teams traded points to start, with ties at two, three, four and five before Iowa stretched out a 14-10 advantage. Wisconsin clawed back into the set at 14-12, but a 7-3 Hawkeye run gave Iowa a commanding 21-15 lead. The Hawkeyes kept on the attack, with kills from Smale, Kremer and Fister to bring up set point at 25-19 and a double-block by Kremer and Schipper brought the Hawkeyes within one set of the upset.
Iowa shut down the 18th-ranked Badgers in the third set by an impressive 25-10 score. The Hawkeyes limited Wisconsin to a -.133 attack percentage in the frame while Smale collected four kills with no errors and hit at a .667 clip.
The set with four ties before Iowa took the lead for good at 5-4. The Hawkeyes railed off a massive 7-0 run behind the precise serving of Hilgenberg and followed with an 8-1 run to all but seal the match. Iowa maintained its lead and a Schipper kill brought the Hawkeyes to 20 points with a 20-9 lead. Wisconsin managed one more point before Iowa closed the match with a 5-0 run. Kremer, Huffman and Schipper stuffed a Brittney Dolgner block to give Iowa the win and the team stormed the court in celebration.
Iowa returns to action Saturday night against Northwestern at 7 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Fans are reminded that anyone presenting a football ticket will be admitted free to the match.