Sept. 12, 2009
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IOWA CITY, IA – The University of Iowa volleyball team was defeated by Drake University in the final round of the Hawkeye Challenge Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Bulldogs defeated the Hawkeyes in straight sets, 25-21, 25-15, 25-21. Senior Megan Schipper led the Hawkeyes with 11 kills, junior Mara Hilgenberg added 28 assists and senior Christina Meister and junior Aimee Huffman added 12 digs each.
“We can’t beat ourselves up over this loss,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “Drake is a good team. We’re still sitting at 6-3 and we have to realize this is a long season. We’re not going to be playing on December 12 if we worry about a loss from September 12. We’re going to move on and we’re going to have to get better.”
Iowa dropped the opening set of the match, 25-21. Schipper and junior Katie Kennedy led the offensive attack with four kills apiece. Hilgenberg added nine assists and a team-high five digs. The Hawkeyes started slow, trailing by four points in the set, 7-3. A Schipper kill and two Drake errors pulled the Hawkeye within one, but Iowa wouldn’t be able to tie the set until the 18-point mark. Tied at 18, Drake’s Angela Bys and Kennedy exchanged kills to push the score to 19-19, but from there the Bulldogs outscored Iowa 6-2 to take a one set lead.
The second set started out well for the Hawkeyes when Schipper started the scoring with a kill. But Drake quickly regained the momentum and built an 8-3 lead. The Hawkeyes battled back behind two kills from junior Becky Walters and a Schipper kill to regain the lead, 11-10, but Drake answered with a 5-0 run to retake the lead 15-11. From there the Bulldogs outscored the Hawkeyes 10-4 to take a commanding two set advantage. Schipper led the second-set effort with four kills and Meister added a team-high four digs.
The Hawkeyes fought back in set three, but ultimately fell short, losing 25-21 in a set that featured 12 ties. Walters led Iowa with five kills in five attacks and Hilgenberg dished 13 assists. Iowa jumped to an early lead in set three. Following back-to-back Walters kills, the Hawkeyes showed some life by staking a 5-2 advantage. Drake soon tied the score, 5-5, and the teams battled within two points until Drake jumped to a 19-16 advantage and never looked back. Iowa pulled within one, 20-21, on a Schipper kill and a Drake error, but the Bulldogs won four of the final five points to win the set and the match.
Huffman was the lone Hawkeye to make the all-tournament team. The native of Poth, TX finished the three-game challenge with 29 kills, 36 digs and eight assists. Huffman has earned all-tournament honors in each of Iowa’s three pre-conference tournaments. The junior was named MVP of the Loyola Invitational (Aug. 28-29) before earning all-tournament recognition at the Green Bay Classic (Sept. 4-5) and Hawkeye Challenge.
The Hawkeyes return to action Friday, September 18 at the West Point Challenge. The Hawkeyes face Binghamton at Noon before facing tournament host Army at 7 p.m.
Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team
Victoria Henson, Iowa State (MVP)
Ashley Moss, Iowa State (Best Libero)
Deb Stadick, Iowa State
Kaylee Manns, Iowa State
Ashley Lichtenberg, Northern Colorado
Aimee Huffman, Iowa
Alisa DeBerg Roth, Drake
Chelsea Lauersdorf, Drake