Oct. 24, 2009
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IOWA CITY, IA – The University of Iowa volleyball team fell to Illinois, 3-0, tonight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The eighth-ranked Fighting Illini totaled 16 blocks, the highest-total against Iowa this season, en route to the three-set win. Junior Becky Walters paced the Hawkeye offense with seven kills. Junior Mara Hilgenberg added 25 assists and senior Christina Meister dished a match-high 18 digs.
“Illinois is a good team,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “We couldn’t get any offense going and that was the story of the match. They put a lot of pressure on our hitters and we weren’t able to overcome their blocks.”
Iowa (11-11, 3-7) battled the Illini to the final point of the opening set before falling, 25-23. The Hawkeyes built a 15-10 lead to start the frame before the Fighting Illini eventually tied the set, 17-17, for the first time since the opening serve. A kill from Walters and an Illinois error then gave Iowa a 21-19 edge before the Fighting Illini battled back with a 6-2 run to win the set, 25-23.
Illinois (8-2, 16-3) rode its first set momentum into the second set, building a 12-5 advantage before Iowa battled back behind kills from Walters and junior Aimee Huffman to close within five points, 14-9. Illinois then stretched its lead to 23-11 before Iowa used kills from sophomore Mallory Husz and Walters and a Hilgenberg ace to fight off set point. Illinois then got a kill from Laura DeBruler, one of her match-high 17 kills, to take a 2-0 match advantage.
Senior Megan Schipper led the Iowa attack in the third and decisive set with four kills, but Illinois proved too strong at the net and won the final frame, 25-22. Hilgenberg dished 11 assists in the third set and Schipper and Meister each picked up four digs. Illinois took command of the set, 20-12, before Iowa woke up and pulled within two points, 23-21, behind two kills apiece from freshman Emma Krieger Kittle and Husz. After an Illini point, Schipper picked up a kill and the Hawkeyes used a Illini error to fight off set-point, but DeBruler answered with her final kill of the night to give Illinois the straight-set victory.
The Hawkeyes return to action Friday, October 30 when they travel to East Lansing, MI, for a 6 p.m. (CT) contest vs. Michigan State.