Hawkeyes Fall to Michigan State


Nov. 12, 2010

Box Score | Highlights and Postgame Presser

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa volleyball team fell to Michigan State inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena tonight, 3-0. Senior Becky Walters paced the Iowa offense with nine kills. Junior Paige Stevens dished 27 assists and freshman Bethany Yeager picked up a team-high 10 digs. Michigan State’s Jenilee Rathje recorded the performance of the night, tallying 20 kills en route to the Spartan’s straight set victory (25-21, 25-20, 25-19).

“(Michigan State’s) Rathje is playing well against everybody,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “We tried some different matchups on her and nothing worked. Good for them for getting her the ball. Unfortunately, we continue to not execute fundamentals very well. It’s tough to win when you don’t (execute fundamentals). It makes it way too easy for the other team. We have to figure out some things against Michigan (Saturday). They have one the of the top outside hitters in the conference and maybe the best setter in the country. We have to respond and be ready to execute our game plan.”

Trailing 3-1 early in the first set, Iowa mounted a 5-2 run fueled by two Paige Stevens kills to take a 6-5 advantage. Michigan State then took control of the match, using a pair of runs to take a 19-12 lead. The Hawkeyes battled back to pull within two, 23-21, but Rathje answered with back-to-back kills to secure the win for MSU.

The Hawkeyes had to again stage a comeback after falling behind 10-4 in set two. Iowa cut into the lead by responding to a Dingman timeout with a 6-2 run behind kills from Walters and Megan Eskew. Michigan State then regained the momentum with an 8-2 spurt to take an 18-12 lead and force another Dingman timeout. The Hawkeyes once again answered, using kills from Mallory Husz and Walters to go on a 4-0 run and pull within two, 18-16. That’s as close as the Black and Gold would come as they could not stop Rathje for a second straight set. The Spartan junior posted a team-high six kills to lead Michigan State to a 25-20 victory.

Iowa tried its hand at another comeback in the third frame. The Hawkeyes used a 7-2 run, courtesy of two kills and a block by Husz, to take a 9-6 advantage and force a Michigan State timeout. The Spartans answered by running off 10 of the next 12 points to build 16-11 lead. The Black and Gold used a Stevens kill, a Nilges ace, and a Michigan State error to pull within two, 20-18, before the Spartans used a 5-1 closing spurt to win the third set, 25-19.

The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday when they host Michigan inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 7 p.m. (CT).

Iowa vs. Michigan State 1st 2nd 3rd
Michigan State (4-11, 12-14) 22 19 16
Iowa (1-14, 6-18) 21 20 19

Statistical Leaders
Kills: Becky Walters (UI) 9 | Rathje (MSU) 20
Assists: Paige Stevens (UI) 27 | Kelsay (MSU) 31
Digs: Bethany Yeager (UI) 10 | Weiler (MSU) 14