Hawkeyes Swept by top-ranked Penn State


Nov. 7, 2009

Box Score

IOWA CITY, IA – The University of Iowa volleyball team fell to top-ranked Penn State tonight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A school record 2,802 fans witnessed the two-time defending NCAA champion Nittany Lions’ straight set victory over Iowa (25-17, 25-22, 25-13).

“Tonight’s crowd was amazing,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “I think we provided them a very entertaining game of volleyball. I’m very pleased with our effort and execution. The third set gave us a little bit of trouble because Penn State was so solid with their blocking. That’s a credit to them. It’s no surprise they’re the top ranked team in the country.”

Iowa attacked the top-ranked Nittany Lions with a balanced attack. Five Hawkeyes picked up at least five kills in the match, led by Becky Walters and Aimee Huffman. The juniors picked up seven kills apiece in the contest. Senior Christina Meister picked up a match-high 15 digs and junior Mara Hilgenberg dished 21 assists.

Penn State jumped to a 1-0 match advantage by controlling the first set, 25-17. Huffman picked up back-to-back kills early on to tie the set, 3-3, but Penn State used an 8-3 run to take an 11-6 advantage and never looked back. Down 23-13, the Hawkeyes rallied with four straight kills, two from Walters and one each from Nilges and senior Megan Schipper, to pull within six, 23-17. But Penn State thwarted the rally with two straight points to claim the opening set. Sophomore Mallory Husz paced Iowa with four kills in the opening frame. Hilgenberg added nine assists and Meister picked up five digs.

Iowa continued its strong play early in the second set, grabbing a 7-3 lead behind two kills from Huffman and a kill each from Schipper and Walters. The Nittany Lions then rallied with a 7-0 run to take a 10-7 edge. Hilgenberg, Schipper and Walters each picked up a kill as Iowa battled back within a point, 13-12, but Penn State was able to withhold the rally and push their lead to 17-15. Husz then responded with consecutive kills to tie the frame, 17-17, but the Nittany Lions put together a 6-2 run to take a 23-19 advantage. Following an Iowa timeout, Nilges and Huffman recorded a kill each to eventually fight back within two points, 24-22, but PSU’s Blair Brown hammered a kill to end the set, 25-22, and give Penn State the 2-0 match lead.

Penn State battled Iowa’s record-setting crowd with a quick 4-1 run to start the third and decisive frame. Two kills from Schipper and an attack point from Husz pulled Iowa with one point, 8-7, but the Nittany Lions strung together eight straight points to take control of the set, 16-8. Penn State then scored nine of the set’s final 14 points to win the third and final frame, 25-13.

“We attacked them with a lot of effort tonight,” said Dingman. “And we were thrilled to be able to play in front of a record-setting crowd. Our fans are amazing.”

Iowa shattered its former attendance record of 2,191, set vs. Wisconsin Oct. 13, 2007. The Hawkeyes return to the floor Wednesday when they host the Badgers at 7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be televised live to a national audience on the Big Ten Network.