Aug. 29, 2009
CHICAGO, IL – The University of Iowa volleyball team improved to 3-0 with a three-set win over Eastern Kentucky Saturday evening. The win gave the Hawkeyes the Loyola Invitational Tournament Championship and their first 3-0 start since 2002.
“Our goal coming in was to win this tournament and we accomplished that,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “This third match was great because it gave us an opportunity to get a look at our depth. I think the group played well and we’re excited to get off to a good start.”
Junior Aimee Huffman was named tournament MVP and junior Becky Walters earned all-tournament honors. Huffman finished this weekend’s tournament with 29 kills, 19 digs, 10 total blocks and seven assists, while Walters amassed 23 kills, 15 total blocks and 11 digs.
Iowa took the first set, 25-17, by dominating the net. Walters and senior Megan Schipper recorded four kills apiece and the Hawkeyes totaled eight blocks to take the early 1-0 match lead.
EKU ran to an early 2-0 advantage to start the first set, but the Hawkeyes used kills from Schipper and Huffman and an EKU error to thwart the rally and take a 3-2 lead. The contest remained close until the Hawkeyes stormed from a 16-13 lead to take a five-point advantage with kills from Walters and Huffman. EKU mixed in a few points to pull back with four, 21-17, but the Hawkeyes used two kills and two blocks to win the opening set, 25-17.
Iowa cruised to a second set win, 25-12. Schipper and Huffman added four kills apiece and sophomore Paige Stevens totaled four assists.
The teams battled to a 6-6 tie before the Hawkeyes used a block from junior Katie Kennedy and kills from junior Mara Hilgenberg, Schipper, Huffman and Kennedy to take an 11-6 advantage. Freshman Lauren Friedman added her first collegiate kill to give Iowa a 23-10 edge and sophomore Tiffany Nilges finished the contest with her second kill of the set.
Iowa closed the match with a 25-21 win in the third set. Stevens led Iowa with seven assists and Schipper totaled five kills to lead the Hawkeyes.
Trailing 11-13, Iowa used two straight Schipper kills and a Nilges block to take one-point lead, 14-13. The Colonels then tied the match, 15-15, when Kennedy recorded consecutive blocks to give Iowa a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. A Walters block, Schipper kill and EKU error finished the contest and gave Iowa the three-set win.
Iowa dominated the net, out-blocking EKU 14-1 en route to victory. Nine different Hawkeyes collected at least one block assist, with Kennedy leading the charge with six.
The Hawkeyes return to action next Friday at the Green Bay Country Inn and Suites Classic. Iowa opens the tournament with a 4:30 p.m. contest with South Dakota State Friday afternoon.