Hawkeyes Fall at Illinois


Nov. 20, 2009

Box Score

CHAMPAIGN, IL -The University of Iowa volleyball team fell to fifth-ranked Illinois tonight at Huff Hall. The Fighting Illini fought off the Hawkeyes in three sets (25-9, 25-18, 25-18). Senior Megan Schipper picked up her 77th career ace in the contest to become the ninth player in program history to rank in the top 20 in career kills, blocks and service aces. Schipper paced Hawkeye offense with six kills while junior Mara Hilgenberg led Iowa with eight digs and 22 assists.

“We didn’t pass well tonight,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “That’s been a constant problem we’ve been addressing because when we play good defense we are a significantly better team. It has to start with first touch. It’s something we’ll focus on again tomorrow as we prepare for Northwestern tomorrow night.”

Iowa fell into a one-set hole by dropping the opening frame, 25-9. Iowa used kills from junior Becky Walters and sophomore Mallory Husz to battle to an early 2-2 tie, but Illinois used a 10-point run later in the set to take a commanding 16-5 lead. Walters ended the Illini run with a block and later added a kill, but Illinois (14-3, 22-4) controlled the final six points of the frame and held on for the set victory.

The Illini rode their first set momentum to a 25-18 win in set two. Schipper recorded back-to-back kills in the early going to tie the set, 3-3, but Illinois later used a six-point run to build a 12-4 advantage. Iowa would later pull within five points, 20-15, behind a 5-2 run that included kills from Husz, Schipper and freshman Emma Krieger Kittle, but Illinois was able to pull away at the end and take a 2-0 set lead. Schipper led the Hawkeyes in the second frame with four kills. Krieger Kittle added three kills off the bench and Hilgenberg dished 10 assists.

The Hawkeyes stormed out of intermission to grab a 7-5 lead in the third frame. Consecutive aces by Schipper tied the set, 4-4, and kills from Huss and Krieger Kittle helped Iowa gain the early lead. The Illini would later battle back to build an eight-point edge, 18-10, before Iowa responded with blocks from Walters and Schipper to eventually pull within four points, 19-15. Illinois then ran away with six of the set’s final nine points to win the set and take the 3-0 match victory.

Iowa (4-13, 12-17) returns to action tomorrow night when the Hawkeyes travel to Evanston, IL, to take on Northwestern. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Welsh-Ryan Arena. Dan Wallace will call the action live via Hawkeye All-Access, a subscription service dedicated to providing extensive coverage of Hawkeye athletics. Visit hawkeyesports.com to follow your favorite Hawkeye events.