Hawkeyes Earn 3-2 Win in Season Opener


Aug. 26, 2011

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa women’s volleyball team opened its season Friday night with a 3-2 win over Central Michigan in the Hawkeye Invitational. The Hawkeyes improved to 4-0 in season openers and 3-1 in home openers under head coach Sharon Dingman. Iowa was paced by freshman Alex Lovell’s 14 kills, sophomore Nikki Dailey’s 40 assists and sophomore Bethany Yeager’s 20 digs.

“I said earlier this week I’d rather win and play sloppy than lose and play well,” said Dingman. “I don’t think we play particularly well, but we got the win and I’m glad we’re 2-0”

Iowa gained an early 1-0 advantage after winning the first set, 26-24. Lovell’s first career kill fueled an initial 6-2 Hawkeye run. Lovell a team-high four kills in the opening set. The Chippewas would fight back to claim a 16-12 lead before Iowa responded from a Dingman timeout by running off a 6-2 run to tie the match 18-18. The two teams remained even until a Dailey kill and Central Michigan error gave Iowa the 26-24 victory. Dailey had a team-high 11 assists in the first set.

The second set would begin with a 3-0 Central Michigan run. The Hawkeyes answered with a pair of runs, including an 8-1 spurt to close the match, to claim a 25-19 victory. Lovell and Dailey once again led Iowa, as Lovell posted a team-high three kills and Daily tallied a team-high three assists.

Central Michigan earned a 25-23 victory in a third set that featured nine ties and six lead changes. Senior Megan Eskew led the Hawkeyes with four kills while Dailey paced the team with six assists.

The Chippewas then forced a decisive fifth set with a 25-22 victory to tie the match 2-2.

Iowa regrouped to win a back-and-forth fifth set, 15-13. Neither team was able to score more than two consecutive points, setting up a dramatic finish. After consecutive points pulled the Chippewas within one, 14-13, Lovell drilled her team-high 14th and final kill of the night to secure a 3-2 Hawkeye victory.

“It was just great to get the win,” said Lovell. “It’s exciting to lead the team in kills in my first match, but it started with the back row passing and the sets from Nikki, it was a team effort and I’m just glad we came out on top in my first game.”

The Hawkeyes return to action in the Hawkeye Challenge at Carver-Hawkeye Arena tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. (CT) versus Saint Louis.

Central Michigan vs. Iowa 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Central Michigan (0-1) 24 19 25 25 13
Iowa (1-0) 26 25 23 22 15

Statistical Leaders
Kills: Alex Lovell (UI) 14 | Schultz (CMU) 13
Assists: Nikki Dailey (UI) 40 | Maxwell (CMU) 30
Digs: Bethany Yeager (UI) 20 | Detweiler (CMU) 15