Sept. 18, 2009
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West Point, NY – The University of Iowa volleyball team defeated the Binghamton Bearcats 3-0 in the opening round of the West Point Classic Friday afternoon. Junior Aimee Huffman lead Iowa with 10 kills, senior Christina Meister added 14 digs and junior Mara Hilgenberg contributed 27 assists as Iowa ran it’s road record to 7-0, the best start in program history.
“I think we played well,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “I told the team before the game the easiest way to feel good about yourselves is to play hard, and I think we did that. (The road record) means a lot. Every little step is a step in the right direction. This is a great group to experience a record like that. They’re committed to this program and they work hard to improve every day.”
Iowa jumped out to an early 1-0 match advantage with a convincing 25-13 set one victory. Junior Becky Walters led Iowa with six kills and five digs while Hilgenberg contributed with seven assists.
The Hawkeyes trailed 2-0 early before using a four-point run to take an early advantage. Binghamton later fought back to a 10-10 tie before Iowa used an error and kills from Walters and Huffman to take a 13-10 edge. Junior Katie Kennedy later added a kill to stretch Iowa’s lead to 19-13 and spark a 7-0 run to win the set.
Iowa battled to a 25-23 win in set two. The game featured 10 ties and eight lead changes. Huffman led Iowa with six kills, Meister added nine digs and Hilgenberg dished 13 assists.
Trailing 5-9, Iowa used two errors and two Huffman kills to tie the score, 9-9. Binghamton then squashed the rally with a kill to retake the lead before Huffman rallied the Hawkeyes with two more kills to spark a 5-0 run. Binghamton came back to take a 16-15 lead before freshman Emma Krieger Kittle and senior Megan Shipper recorded back-to-back kills to help Iowa regain the one-point edge. The Bearcats rebounded with a three-point run to take a 22-21 advantage, but the Hawkeyes came out of a timeout determined and fought to win four of the next five points to take a 2-0 match lead.
Iowa closed the opening round of the West Point Challenge with a dominating 25-11 third set win. Krieger Kittle led the squad with four kills; Hilgenberg added seven assists and nine players contributed with at least one dig. Walters started the set with a service ace and the Hawkeyes never trailed from the get-go. Sophomore Tiffany Nilges came off the bench and recorded a kill to give Iowa a 23-11 advantage and a block from sophomore Paige Stevens set up set-point for the Hawkeyes, 24-11. Binghamton then committed an error to end the set and give Iowa the match victory.
The Hawkeyes return to action this evening at the West Point Challenge when they face tournament host Army at 6 p.m. (CT) at Christl Arena.
MATCH SUMMARY Binghamton 13 23 11 (7-3) IOWA 25 25 25