Nilges Leads Iowa to Tournament Title


Sept. 10, 2011

Box Score

IOWA CITY, Iowa– The University of Iowa volleyball team rallied to defeat Oakland, 3-2, Saturday evening in the final match of the Iowa Invitational. The Hawkeyes went undefeated at the tournament and advanced to 6-3 on the season. Iowa’s Tiffany Nilges was named MVP of the Iowa Invitational. The senior from Tripoli, Iowa, recorded 30 kills in the tournament, including a career-high 16 kills in tonight’s championship match.

Tiffany Nilges wanted the ball tonight,” said head coach Sharon Dingman. “She just started playing right side this week and she’s obviously embraced the challenge. She played with a tremendous purpose this weekend.”

Freshman Alex Lovell led Iowa at the net with a career-high 21 kills. She became the first Hawkeye in more than a year to top the 20-kill plateau. Senior Megan Eskew earned her sixth double-double of the season with 19 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore Nikki Dailey added a personal best 60 assists and sophomore Bethany Yeager contributed 20 digs.

The Golden Grizzlies took set one with a 25-17 victory. Oakland opened the set with a 7-2 run that Iowa answered with a 6-2 run to pull within a point. Oakland held the lead through the remainder of the set and ended the game with a 12-3 run to grab the one-set lead.

Iowa tied the match 1-1 with a set two victory, 25-22. Oakland jumped out to an early lead scoring the first five points of the set. Iowa was able to tie the score at 12 with a 5-0 run, before grabbing its first lead, 16-15, with a block from freshman Emily Yanny. Set two proved to be a back-and-forth frame that Iowa sealed by scoring the final three points. Lovell led the Hawkeyes with six kills while Dailey collected 13 assists. Yeager also grabbed five digs for the Hawkeyes.

Oakland earned the match advantage, 2-1, with a 27-25 win in the third frame. The set was tied at five before Oakland was able to make its first run, scoring eight consecutive points to give them a comfortable 12-5 lead. Iowa responded with a 5-0 run to close the gap, 15-13. The Hawkeyes kept it close but were unable to gain the lead and the Golden Grizzlies escaped with the victory. Iowa was led by Lovell, who put down seven kills, and Dailey, who recorded another 12 assists and four digs.

The Hawkeyes answered the Golden Grizzlies with a 25-15 victory in set four. Oakland scored the set’s first three points and maintained its lead until Iowa tied the set at 10. The Hawkeyes took the lead, 19-13, with a 9-3 run and eventually scored the set’s final five points to earn the victory. Eskew led the Hawkeyes with five kills. Dailey recorded 12 assists and Yeager collected eight digs.

Iowa clinched the match in set five. The Hawkeyes used an early 3-0 run to grab the lead and added a six-point run to earn the 15-8 set win and complete the comeback victory. Dailey dished out another eight assists and freshman Kari Mueller grabbed five digs in the final frame. Eskew and Lovell combined for six kills.

The Hawkeyes return to action next week in New York City at the Columbia Invitational. They are scheduled to face St. Francis (NY) at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16.

Iowa Invitational All-Tournament Team
MVP Tiffany Nilges (Iowa)
Alex Lovell (Iowa)
Nikki Dailey (Iowa)
Bethany Yeager (Iowa)
Mary Kate Styler (Loyola)
Vicki Wrobel (Loyola)
Allison Bell (Oakland)
Rachel Levitt (Chicago State)

Oakland vs. Iowa 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Oakland (5-4) 25 22 27 15 8
Iowa (6-3) 17 25 25 25 15

Statistical Leaders
Kills: Alex Lovell (UI) 21 | Bell (OU) 21
Assists: Nikki Dailey (UI) 60 | Valentine (OU) 49
Digs: Bethany Yeager (UI) 20 | Bray/Means (OU) 9