Hawkeyes Knock Off Northwestern, 3-1


Sept. 27, 2008

Box Score

IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa volleyball team improved to 2-0 in Big Ten play and 10-4 overall with a four-set win (18-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-19) over Northwestern Saturday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes are currently on a seven-match winning streak and this year’s squad is only the fourth team in school history to open the Big Ten season with a 2-0 record.

Even though Iowa’s 15-set winning streak was snapped Saturday night, the Hawkeyes still matched the fourth longest winning streak in school history since 1986. Only the 1983, 1986, 1994 and 2000 teams opened conference play with two-straight wins. Saturday night also snapped a five-match losing streak against Northwestern.

“We wanted to come out tonight and continue with a successful trend,” Head Coach Sharon Dingman said. “I thought we fought hard through a tough first set where Northwestern was on fire. Our team rallied together and was able to put away the match. I couldn’t be happier for the team and we need to have a great week of practice in preparing for two tough opponents next weekend.”

“We have a lot of confidence heading into practice this week,” senior Kiley Fister said. “We need to turn that confidence into energy during the week and prepare for our first Big Ten road trip. It’s a great feeling to open 2-0 in the Big Ten, but we still have a lot of matches to play this year.”

Sophomore Aimee Huffman recorded a career-high 20 kills with an impressive .444 attack percentage and also had seven digs and two block assists. Senior Catherine Smale collected her fifth double-double of the season with 14 kills and 16 digs, while senior Laura Kremer and junior Megan Schipper each had 10 kills. Senior Kiley Fister put up a team-high 49 assists and senior libero Emily Hiza had 20 digs. Freshman Mallory Husz came off the bench and added eight kills with a .400 attack percentage and two block assists.

Northwestern came out on fire to open the match, hitting at a.421 clip in the first set en route to a 25-18 win. Smale had five kills and five digs in the loss.

The Wildcats open the frame with a 14-7 lead and later stretched that advantage to 20-12. Northwestern closed the set with a Naomi Johnson kill for the early lead. Iowa responded in the second stanza with six kills and a .750 attack percentage from Huffman, along with four kills from Smale and Schipper to even the match.

After the set saw the score knotted at three, five and six, the Hawkeyes used a Schipper kill to take the lead for good at 7-6. Iowa then went on a 7-1 run to take a 14-7 lead, forcing a Wildcat timeout. Later in the set with the score at 18-13, Iowa took kills from Schipper, Husz and Huffman for a 21-13 lead. Huffman collected two kills in the next three rallies and a Smale kill gave Iowa set point at 24-17. One rally later, Kremer took a perfect set from Fister and rocketed the ball across the net for the win.

Huffman added another five kills and Kremer had four in the third set as the Hawkeyes took a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-23 win.

Northwestern took an early 4-1 lead and kept the advantage until Iowa managed to tie the score at eight. The set saw five more ties before Iowa took the lead at 14-13 and never gave it back. Iowa went on an 8-3 run to take a 21-17 lead, but the Wildcats fought back with three points in the next five rallies to make the count 23-20. Kremer recorded a kill for set point at 24-20, but the Wildcats answered with three-straight points to come within one at 24-23. Kremer killed her fourth rally of the match after a Hawkeye timeout to give Iowa a 2-1 lead.

Huffman shined once again in the final stanza, leading the team with six kills and a .625 attack percentage, while four other Hawkeyes had three kills.

The teams traded points to start before Northwestern took a 6-4 lead. The Wildcats held the advantage until four-straight Hawkeye points gave Iowa the lead at 8-7. Northwestern knotted the score at eight, but a Huffman kill gave Iowa the lead at 9-8. Iowa held on to its lead through the middle of the frame, but Northwestern scored ties at 14 and 15 before a 6-1 Hawkeye surge put the set away at 21-17. Iowa wrapped up its second-consecutive Big Ten win with a 5-1 run.

The Hawkeyes return to action Friday night when they face nationally-ranked Purdue in West Lafayette, IN. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT).