Hawkeyes Win Five-Set Thriller


Nov. 11, 2009

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IOWA CITY, IA – For the first time in 15 years, the University of Iowa volleyball team swept the season series from Wisconsin, topping the Badgers 3-2 Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Senior Megan Schipper paced the Iowa offense with a season-high 19 kills. Sophomore Mallory Husz contributed with a career-best 12 kills and sophomore Paige Stevens, making her first start of the season, dished a career-high 52 assists quarterbacking the offense. Senior Christina Meister led the Hawkeye defense, picking up a game-high 30 digs. Husz also added a career-high seven blocks as Iowa stuffed a season-best 16.5 balls at the net.

“We got support from a lot of people tonight,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “Everyone on the floor showed great effort. Schipper provided great leadership and brought a calmness to the floor. Christina’s digging was unbelievable and Paige did a tremendous job with her decision making. She played a great game.”

Iowa battled back from a one-set deficit for only the third time this season after Wisconsin captured the opening set with a 25-19 win. The Badgers’ Allison Wack picked up five of her 14 totals kills in the opening set to help Wisconsin build the 1-0 match advantage. Early in the frame the Hawkeyes built a 10-8 lead behind three kills apiece from Schipper and sophomore Tiffany Nilges, but the Badgers used a 12-2 run to open up a 20-12 lead and held on for the set one win.

Iowa (4-11, 12-15) stormed back in the second frame by attacking the net and swinging at a .452 clip. Schipper and Husz collected four kills apiece, but junior Katie Kennedy ruled the second frame with five kills in six chances. Kennedy, Schipper and junior Becky Walters each picked up a pair of blocks in the set as Iowa tied the match, 1-1, with a 25-17 victory. Stevens handed out 15 assists and Meister added four digs.

The Hawkeyes rolled out of the intermission riding their second set momentum and captured the third set with a 25-16 victory. Schipper led the offense with four kills, but it was the Hawkeye defense that led Iowa to a 2-1 match lead. Three different Hawkeyes, Husz, Walters and Kennedy, picked up three blocks each in the set. Iowa battled to a 12-11 advantage before stringing together an 11-2 run to take a commanding 23-13 edge. A kill by Husz then forced an Iowa set-point before a Wisconsin attack sailed long to give the Hawkeyes a one-set lead.

Despite a set-high 14 digs from Meister in the fourth frame, Wisconsin (6-9, 11-13) was able to steady their offense and pull out a 25-20 win. Stevens dished 15 assists and Schipper added five kills, but with the set tied, 9-9, the Badgers put together a 4-0 run and never looked back. Consecutive kills by Schipper and a pair of kills from Nilges helped Iowa battle back with three points, 23-20, but Wisconsin answered a timeout with the set’s final two points to tie the match, 2-2.

The Badgers stayed hot to open the fifth and final set, recording a couple kills while jumping to a 2-0 lead. But the Hawkeye offense woke up and Nilges, Schipper and Kennedy each attacked with a point as the Hawkeyes jumped ahead, 6-3. Back-to-back kills from Husz and Schipper eventually gave Iowa an 11-6 advantage before Wisconsin pulled back within three points, 11-8. The Hawkeyes then scored the match’s final four points to win the rubber set, 15-8, and escape with a 3-2 match win.

The Hawkeyes return to action Friday when they host 13th-ranked Minnesota at 7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.