Ferocious Comeback Gives Iowa Victory in Five-Set Thriller


Oct. 11, 2008

Box Score | Photo Gallery

IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa volleyball team knocked off Indiana, 25-21, 13-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-12, Saturday night in the annual “Attacking Breast Cancer” match inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The event drew 1,598 people, which is the fourth-largest attendance figure in school history. The UI Department of Athletics will now donate $1,598 to the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

After Iowa claimed a win in the first set, Indiana took the next two frames to come within one set of victory. The Hawkeyes mounted a thrilling comeback, taking the fourth set by three points to force a decisive fifth stanza, and fought back to complete the win.

Iowa now stands at 11-7 overall and 3-3 in Big Ten play. Iowa’s three conference wins are the second-most for a Hawkeye team since 2001. The Hawkeyes are also off to their best start in Big Ten play since 2000, when Iowa went 4-2 in its first six conference matches.

“I am very proud of the way our team battled back tonight,” Head Coach Sharon Dingman said. “The crowd was amazing tonight as well. It was great to see everyone dressed in pink. Its fun to celebrate a win, but it’s even better to help out a great cause like the fight against breast cancer. I thought our team hung in through some rough spots and really showed some determination tonight. This was a great team win.”

Senior Catherine Smale and junior Megan Schipper led the Hawkeye attack with 17 kills each. Smale added 12 digs to notch her seventh double-double of the season. Senior Kiley Fister took charge of the Hawkeye offense with 41 assists and also added 11 digs and three block assists. Senior Emily Hiza, who was decked out in a pink libero jersey, led the squad with 18 digs. Senior Laura Kremer had a team-best six block assists.

Iowa looked strong in the opening frame with a 25-21 victory. Schipper had five kills, while freshman Mallory Husz had four of her career-high 10 kills in the set.

The set was close throughout, with 12 ties and five lead changes. Iowa led through the early stages after gaining a 4-3 advantage. Indiana kept things close and knotted the score at 10, but Iowa kept the lead until the score tied again at 13. The set saw five more ties before Indiana grabbed a slim 18-17 advantage. Iowa managed to tie the score at 19 and a Schipper kill gave Iowa a 20-19 lead. Indiana committed an error for a 21-19 lead, but two-straight Hoosier points tied the set at 21. Iowa closed the set with a quick 4-0 run, taking advantage of three Hoosier errors for the win.

The Hawkeyes struggled in the second set, falling 25-13.

The Hoosiers took an early 2-1 lead and never let go, stretching the advantage to 11-6. Indiana kept Iowa in check and wrapped up the set with a 9-0 surge.

Iowa battled in the third set, but couldn’t come away with the win. Kremer had five kills and four other Hawkeyes had two.

Indiana took a 3-2 lead, but the Hawkeyes kept the deficit within three points until they tied the score at eight. The set was then separated by only one point for 17-straight rallies, with eight ties in between. Indiana took a slim 18-16 lead and held on, taking a 23-20 advantage, which forced a Hawkeye timeout. Iowa tried to fight back, using a 3-1 run to come within one point at 24-23, but a Hawkeye service error gave Indiana a 2-1 match lead.

The Hawkeyes began the thrilling comeback in the fourth set, winning 25-22. Smale blasted seven kills and hit at a .400 clip, while Schipper added six.

Indiana once again took an early lead, but the Hawkeyes stayed within two points and finally forced a tie at 10. Iowa never let go of the lead after, using a short 3-0 surge for a 13-10 lead, forcing a Hoosier timeout. Iowa maintained its advantage through the middle stages of the stanza, using a Smale kill for a 17-13 lead. Indiana pushed back, using a 5-1 run later in the frame to come back within one at 19-18, but Iowa held on to its advantage and scored five points in the next eight rallies for set point at 24-21. After an Indiana kill made the count 24-22, Schipper took a Fister set and blasted it across the net to force a decisive fifth set.

Smale, Fister, Husz and sophomore Aimee Huffman fueled Iowa in the fifth set. Smale had four kills, Huffman had three crucial attacks and two block assists, Husz added two block assists and Fister ran the offense to perfection, tallying seven assists.

Iowa stormed out to an early 3-0 lead, using precise serving from Fister to take the early advantage. The teams traded points to make the score 5-2, but a 3-0 Hawkeye run made the score 7-3, and Indiana took its first timeout. The Hoosiers then fired back after the minute pause, using their own 3-0 surge to pull back within one at 7-6, and this time Iowa used one of its two timeouts. Smale recorded a kill to make the score 8-6, and the teams traded benches.

Two-straight Hoosier points after the switch knotted the count at eight, but a Schipper kill gave Iowa a slim one-point lead at 9-8. Indiana once again forced a tie at nine, and this time managed two points in a row for an 11-9 lead. Indiana then committed a ball handling error and Smale hit a kill to tie the count at 11. Indiana regained the lead at 12-11, but Huffman hit one of her three kills for the fourth tie of the stanza at 12. The Hawkeyes completed the remarkable comeback with three-straight points for the win. Indiana recorded an attack error for a 13-12 score, and then Schipper served up an ace to bring up match point at 14-12. Indiana’s Kelsey Hall looked to hit a kill to extend the match, but Huffman and Husz stuffed a block, and the team stormed the court to celebrate.

Iowa will take on nationally-ranked Minnesota Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Minneapolis. The match will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.