Sept. 16, 2011
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NEW YORK — The University of Iowa volleyball team topped tournament host Columbia, 3-1, Friday night at the Columbia Invitational. The Hawkeyes (8-3) had four players reach double-digit kills and won their fifth straight to match their best 11-game start to a season since 2007.
“We just beat a very good volleyball team,” said head coach Sharon Dingman. “Columbia was prepared. Their crowd was loud and into the whole match. I thought we played well throughout the lineup at different times. This was a great preparation for the Big Ten schedule.”
Three Hawkeye seniors – Megan Eskew, Husz and Nilges – combined for 10 kills and six blocks in the 25-19 set one victory. The Hawkeyes attacked at a .412 clip and never trailed in the frame. Nilges opened the set with a kill, teamed with Husz on a block to spark a four-point run, and eventually ended the frame with her third kill.
“Our seniors played great,” said Dingman. “They had a calming effect on our freshmen, who I think may have been a little rattled. But this was a Big Ten environment. Very hostile. I’m thrilled with the win.”
Columbia battled through nine ties and escaped the second set with a 25-21 win. Eskew recorded another five kills, but Columbia attacked the net at .452 and used a 7-1 run late in the set to secure the win and tie the match at one set apiece.
Columbia then grabbed the first point of set three before Iowa used kills from Chante’ Thompson and Nilges to grab a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The Hawkeyes’ eventually stretched their lead to 23-14 before Columbia used a 7-1 run to pull within three, 24-21. Eskew then fired her only kill of the set to end the Lions’ rally and give Iowa the 25-21 win.
The Hawkeyes’ trailed set four 8-7 before Eskew, Nilges and Thompson sandwiched three kills together to give Iowa its first lead of the set, 10-8. The Hawkeyes later used a 6-1 run to grab a 19-12 lead and eventually fought off a Columbia rally to win set three, 25-20.
“Mallory set the tone early,” said Dingman. “And Chante’ came off the bench and played extremely well. Both players played very well at the net and provided big sparks for us.”
Nilges’ 11 kills and 13 digs represented her first double-double of the season. Freshman Alex Lovell added 10 kills in the effort.
The Hawkeyes return to the court Saturday against Binghamton. First serve from Levien Gym is scheduled for 9 a.m. CT. Fans can follow the action on hawkeyesports.com via The Official Iowa Volleyball Blog.
|Iowa at Columbia||1st||2nd||3rd||4th|
|Kills: Megan Eskew (UI) 12 | Gibbemeyer (CU) 11|
|Assists: Nikki Dailey (UI) 32 | Brennan (CU) 43|
|Digs: Bethany Yeager (UI) 13 | Dyroff (CU) 12|