Hawkeyes Fall Short at No. 9 Illinois


Nov. 19, 2010

Box Score

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Iowa volleyball team fought to the end but ultimately fell to No. 9 Illinois tonight, 3-1, inside Huff Hall. The Hawkeyes shocked the home crowd with a thrilling 25-19 win in the second frame and nearly stole the third set, but the Illini escaped with the match victory to maintain their tie atop the Big Ten standings with Penn State.

Freshman Rachael Bedell and junior Tiffany Nilges led the Iowa offense with 11 kills apiece. Freshman Bethany Yeager picked up a game-high 25 digs and Paige Stevens recorded her ninth double-double of the season, dishing 20 assists recording 14 saves.

“I thought we played well and even though the fourth set didn’t look very competitive I was pleased with the overall effort,” said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. “Illinois is a very good team. They’re ranked No. 9 in the country and they’re tied for first in the conference so we expected a good challenge.”

The Hawkeyes used five kills from Bedell to try to steal the opening frame from Illinois, but the Illini were able to hold off a late rally and capture the 25-20 win. Facing set point 24-17, Iowa used a kill from Husz and a service ace from Nikki Dailey before Illinois’ Michelle Bartsch hammered her sixth kill for the game-winner.

Iowa bounced back in the second frame and ran off 12-of-15 points to finish the set with a 25-19 win. Trailing 16-13, Iowa answered a Dingman timeout with a seven point run. Husz picked up a pair of blocks and Lauren Friedman recorded a kill in the flurry before Illinois ended the run with Iowa leading, 20-17. A kill from Tiffany Nilges extended Iowa’s lead to four points before consecutive kills from Friedman and Megan Eskew ended the frame and tied the match at one set apiece. Eskew led Iowa with four kills in the frame and Bethany Yeager picked up a set-high seven digs.

Megan Eskew was a rock star tonight,” said Dingman. “She brought her complete game and she continues to fuel this team.”

Eskew finished the contest with nine kills, 11 digs and a pair of blocks.

The Hawkeyes had plenty of chances to grab a match advantage in the third frame but were unable to close the set and fell, 25-22. Iowa stormed to its biggest lead of the night, 14-9, when a kill and a block from Husz sparked a four-point run. Illinois battled back to tie the frame, 15-15, and the teams traded points until the score reached 22-22. Bedell hammered her 11th kill of the frame to tie the set at 22 but Illinois finished with a 3-0 to escape with a 25-22 win.

Illinois used its momentum from the back-and-fourth third set to cruise to a 25-14 in the fourth and final frame.

The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday at 7 p.m. at Wisconsin. The contest will be broadcast live on Hawkeye All-Access and streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com. Visit the Iowa volleyball page on hawkeyesports.com for more information.

Iowa at Illinois 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Iowa (2-15, 7-19) 20 25 22 14
Illinois (14-3, 22-5) 25 19 25 25

Statistical Leaders
Kills: Bedell, Nilges (UI) 11 | Bartsch (ILL) 21
Assists: Paige Stevens (UI) 20 | Haen (ILL) 45
Digs: Bethany Yeager (UI) 25 | Bonilla (ILL) 19