Oct. 9, 2009
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IOWA CITY, IA – The University of Iowa volleyball team dropped a five-set match to the eighth-ranked Michigan Wolverines tonight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa led the match three games to two, but the Wolverines rallied to claim the final two sets and pull away with the 3-2 victory.
“We did some good things tonight,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “One thing we asked the team was to be better than the last time we competed, and they were, so I’m happy to see us continue to make progress. Michigan is one of the top teams in the country and we allowed them to get too much momentum in the fourth set. They forced us to be perfect and we weren’t. They deserve a lot of credit.”
The Hawkeyes (1-4, 9-8) were paced offensively by junior Aimee Huffman and freshman Emma Krieger Kittle. Huffman finished the night with 13 kills while Krieger Kittle contributed with 11 kills, one shy of her career-best. Junior Mara Hilgenberg quarterbacked the offense and handed out 38 assists. Senior Christina Meister and Huffman finished with 17 digs apiece.
Iowa jumped out to an early 1-0 match lead with an overtime win in set one. Junior Katie Kennedy picked up five of her eight match kills in the opening set. Iowa trailed the opener, 22-18, before Dingman called a timeout to rally the troops and game-plan the comeback. The Hawkeyes finished with a 9-2 run to win the set, 27-25, and take a 1-0 match lead.
Michigan (4-1, 16-2) bounced back with a 25-19 victory in set two. The Wolverines and Hawkeyes battled to an 11-11 tie before Michigan used a 4-0 run to take the lead for good. Krieger Kittle led the Iowa offense with five kills while senior Megan Schipper added four digs and four kills in the losing effort.
With the match tied at 1-1, the Hawkeyes came out of intermission determined and ready to attack. Krieger Kittle picked up two early kills and Hilgenberg added her lone kill of the match to give Iowa a quick 3-0 edge. Michigan battled back to tie the set, 3-3, and the teams would trade points until the 20-20 mark. The Hawkeyes then sandwiched two Krieger Kittle kills between three Michigan errors to win the third set, 25-20, and take a 2-1 match advantage.
Michigan ran off to a 16-4 lead to start set four and cruised to an easy 25-13 win to tie the match, 2-2. The Hawkeyes totaled four blocks in the set, two by sophomore Mallory Husz, but were held to just three kills.
The Wolverines rode their fourth-set momentum into the decisive fifth set. Michigan used a five-point run to take a 7-2 lead and withstood a Hawkeye rally to hold on for the 15-11 win.
The Hawkeyes return to action Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. when they host 18th-ranked Michigan State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.