Sept. 23, 2009
- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch (2009-10 season)
MADISON, WI – The University of Iowa volleyball team won its Big Ten opener for the second time in as many years under Head Coach Sharon Dingman. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wisconsin Badgers, 3-1, at the UW Field House behind a tremendous all-around performance from Becky Walters. The junior middle blocker led Iowa with a season-high 12 kills and eight total blocks. Junior Mara Hilgenberg added 42 assists and senior Christina Meister led the Black and Gold with 15 digs. Overall, Iowa outblocked Wisconsin 15-3 en route to victory.
“We stayed true to who we are to get this win,” said Dingman. “We served well, we were strong in our ball handling, and we got stronger as the match went on. We knew we had to play better to win in the Big Ten, and we knew we didn’t have to go outside of our strengths to make it happen. That’s very rewarding.”
Iowa (9-4, 1-0) took a 1-0 match advantage with a 25-21 victory in the opening set. Walters and junior Aimee Huffman paced the Hawkeye attack with four kills each. Hilgenberg dished out 12 assists and three Hawkeyes recorded a pair of digs.
Iowa jumped to an early 6-2 advantage behind three kills from Hilgenberg, Walters and freshman Emma Krieger Kittle in the first set. Wisconsin rallied back to take an 11-10 lead, but Walters responded with four straight points – two blocks, two kills – to help Iowa retake the lead 15-12. The Badgers then answered a timeout with three consecutive points to tie the match before Huffman sandwiched two kills between a Wisconsin error to put Iowa up three, 18-15. The Hawkeyes then battled to a 21-16 edge before the Badgers rolled off three-straight points to close within two, 21-19. Following a Dingman timeout, the Hawkeyes closed the match with a 4-2 run, including a 25-21 set-winner from Walters.
Wisconsin (5-5, 0-1) evened the match with a 25-19 win in set number two. Schipper and Krieger Kittle led Iowa with three kills each; Hilgenberg added 10 assists and Meister contributed with five digs.
Iowa fell behind 5-2 in the second set before senior Megan Schipper sparked a 5-1 run with a kill to give the Hawkeyes a 7-6 lead. Wisconsin fought back to take a 14-12 edge before Iowa used two Badger errors and a Huffman kill to reclaim the lead, 15-14. Following a timeout, the Badgers used a 5-1 run to take a 19-16 lead. An error and Krieger Kittle kill pulled Iowa within one, 18-19, but Wisconsin closed with a 6-1 run win the second set 25-19.
The Hawkeyes came out swinging in the third set en route to a 25-22 victory. Huffman paced Iowa with three kills and three blocks, while Hilgenberg handed out 12 assists.
“Dan Gable spoke to this team early in the season and stressed the importance of recovery,” said Dingman. “We remind this team that recovery starts immediately and they responded. The win feels good.”
“We stayed true to who we are to get this win. We served well, we were strong in our ball handling, and we got stronger as the match went on. We knew we had to play better to win in the Big Ten, and we knew we didn’t have to go outside of our strengths to make it happen. That’s very rewarding.”
UI Coach Sharon Dingman
The Hawkeyes jumped to a commanding 11-4 advantage behind two kills and a block from Huffman in the third set. Krieger Kittle opened the set with a kill and junior Signe Mueller added an ace as Iowa built the early seven-point lead. Wisconsin used a 9-4 run to pull within one point, 15-13, but Huffman and Krieger Kittle answered will a kill each to extend Iowa’s lead, 17-13. After the Badgers battled back from an 18-16 deficit, Schipper responded with two kills as Iowa again stretched its lead to four, 21-17. Wisconsin again closed to within two points, 24-22, when Schipper hammered a kill to give Iowa the 2-1 set lead.
Iowa captured the fourth set 25-18 behind four kills from Walters. Meister contributed with five digs in the decisive set and Hilgenberg dished eight assist.
The Hawkeyes and Badgers battled to a 9-9 tie to start the fourth set before Iowa opened a three-point lead, 12-9, behind back-to-back dual blocks from Huffman/Walters and Husz/Krieger Kittle. Wisconsin then closed within one, 14-13, before Krieger Kittle, Husz and Schipper answered with three consecutive kills to give Iowa a 17-13 advantage. Leading 19-16, the Hawkeyes used a 6-2 run, highlighted by a Walters match-winning kill, to win the fourth and decisive set, 25-18.
The Hawkeyes continue conference play Saturday (Sept. 26) at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers host the Hawkeyes at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.
MATCH SUMMARY(9-4) IOWA 25 19 25 25(5-5) Wisconsin 21 25 22 18