Hawkeyes Win Five Set Thriller In Evanston


Nov. 14, 2008

Box Score

EVANSTON, IL – The University of Iowa volleyball team defeated Northwestern in dramatic fashion, knocking off the Wildcats with a five-set comeback, 25-20, 22-25, 11-25, 25-22, 15-13. The Hawkeyes improve to 14-13 overall and 6-9 in Big Ten play. Northwestern drops to 8-18 overall and 2-13 in conference action.

“Sometimes it just takes a couple plays to get back into a match, and that was the story for us tonight,” Head Coach Sharon Dingman said. “We slowly worked our way back into the match and fought hard at the end. This was a huge win for us. We had very competitive practices this week, and that contributed a lot to this win.”

Senior Catherine Smale led the way with 22 kills on 50 swings (.260 attack percentage). Junior Megan Schipper had 12 kills and nine digs, while senior Kiley Fister had a team-best 48 assists. Senior libero Emily Hiza inched closer to becoming Iowa’s all-time digs leader with 17 Friday night. Senior Laura Kremer led the team with six total blocks (two solo, four assists).

Iowa took the first set, 25-20. The Hawkeyes hit at a .321 clip and limited Northwestern to just a .054 hitting percentage. Huffman led the way with four kills on eight swings to hit .500 in the stanza.

With the set tied at four, Iowa used a 4-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. Northwestern responded with a 7-0 surge, forcing a Hawkeye timeout with the Wildcats leading, 13-11. Iowa responded with a 3-0 run to regain a 14-13 lead. The set saw ties at 14 and 16, before a 5-0 run, fueled by four-straight Wildcat errors, gave the Hawkeyes a 21-16 lead. Northwestern fought back with two points in the next three rallies for a 23-19 score, but kills by Huffman, Smale and Kennedy ended the set.

Iowa was unable to capitalize on seven Northwestern service errors in the second set, falling 22-25. Schipper and Smale each had three kills in the stanza.

The teams traded points to start before a 7-3 Northwestern run gave the Wildcats a 12-9 lead. Iowa then used its own 5-0 to take a 14-12 advantage. After a tie at 14, the frame remained within one point, with seven ties and two lead changes, before Northwestern gained set point at 24-22. The Wildcats then recorded a service ace to tie the match at one set each.

Iowa fell behind 2-1 in the match after dropping the third set, 25-11.

Northwestern started the third set with four-straight points, but Iowa rebounded with three-consecutive kills to make the score 4-3. The Wildcats maintained between a two and three point lead until a 4-0 run gave Northwestern a 12-6 lead, forcing a Hawkeye timeout. Another Northwestern run, this time a 5-1 surge, made Iowa take its second timeout trailing 17-8. The Wildcats held on for the win, closing the set with an 8-1 run.

Iowa fought back to tie the match at two sets each after a 25-22 win in the fourth set. Smale had an impressive seven kills with a .545 attack percentage and Schipper added five kills on 10 attempts (.500 attack percentage).

The Wildcats opened the set with an 8-4 lead, but a 4-0 Hawkeye run later in the set knotted the score at nine. Northwestern took back a 13-10 lead with a 4-1 run, and the Hawkeyes asked for a timeout. Iowa battled after the break, eventually tying the score at 17 with a 5-2 run, capped by kills from Smale and Kennedy. The set stayed close towards the end, with ties at 18, 20 and 21 and 22 before a Schipper kill gave Iowa a 23-22 lead. Smale forced a fifth set with back-to-back kills to end the frame.

Smale collected six of her 22 kills in the decisive fifth set to lead the Hawkeyes to victory, 15-13.

Iowa came out on fire to start the fifth set, taking seven points in the first eight rallies. Smale opened the frame with a kill, but Northwestern tied the score at one. The Hawkeyes then used a 6-0 run for a 7-1 lead. Northwestern committed three-straight errors, followed by kills from Fister and Smale along with a Kremer block to make up the run. The Wildcats managed three consecutive points to bring the count to 7-4, but a Smale kill gave Iowa a four-point lead at 8-4. Huffman recorded a kill later for a 9-5 lead, and two more Iowa points gave the Hawkeyes an 11-6 lead, forcing Northwestern to take its final timeout of the set. The teams traded points for five-straight rallies, as Iowa held on to its lead at 13-9. Smale brought up match point with a kill at 14-11, but Northwestern managed three points for a 14-13 count, and Iowa took its final timeout. Smale finished things with a kill to give Iowa its second road win in Big Ten play.

The Hawkeyes will take on Wisconsin in Madison Sunday at 1 p.m.