Sept. 17, 2011
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NEW YORK — The University of Iowa volleyball team earned its second tournament championship in as many weeks following a 3-1 win over St. John’s Saturday at the Columbia Invitational. The Hawkeyes finished the weekend 4-0 and have now won seven straight, their longest winning streak since 2006.
Senior Mallory Husz, sophomore Chante’ Thompson and freshman Alex Lovell were named to the all-tournament team. Husz stuffed six blocks in the championship game and Thompson added a career-high 10 kills. Lovell added 12 kills in the title game and finished the weekend with 38.
“We played with a lot of confidence today,” said head coach Sharon Dingman. “We’ll always take a win, especially when playing four games in two days, but this win was really nice. We looked confident and composed and we played really well.”
Iowa used an 11-3 run early in the opening frame to cruise to a 25-21 victory. Lovell nailed consecutive kills and Tiffany Nilges aced the Red Storm to give Iowa’s its largest lead of the set, 20-13. St. John’s then rallied with five straight points before the Hawkeyes answered with three in a row. Nikki Daily eventually finished the set with a setter dump. Megan Eskew led the Hawkeyes with five of her match-high 16 kills in the opener.
St. John’s battled back to claim set two, 25-18. Eskew added another four kills for Iowa, but the Hawkeyes attacked at just a .108 clip.
The Hawkeyes responded with an 8-3 run to open the third frame. Lovell contributed a pair of kills during the run and Nilges added two kills and a block. Eskew later added a kill after St. John’s pulled within a point, 20-19. The senior punctuated the win with a cross court kill to end the match and give Iowa the 25-21 win.
The Hawkeyes clinched the tournament with a 25-18 win the fourth set. Iowa never trailed in the frame, but never led by more than four until a late 7-2 run finished the set. Chante’ Thompson led the final attack, finishing with four kills in the set, including two in the Hawkeyes’ final push.
“Chante’ looked really good this weekend,” said Dingman. “She brought a big spark to the team, which is great. She’s an experienced player and we want to put experience on the floor. It was a nice weekend for her.
“Mallory also played extremely well. She missed last weekend and it’s great to have her back because we’re a different team with Mal. We’re absolutely going to need her to play well going forward.”
Iowa returns to the court Friday, Sept. 23 against Ohio State. The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes open conference play at 7 p.m. on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Visit hawkeyesports.com or call the UI Ticket Office for ticket information.
|St. John’s vs. Iowa||1st||2nd||3rd||4th|
|St. John’s (9-7)||21||25||21||18|
|Kills: Megan Eskew (UI) 16 | Ramdin (SJ) 14|
|Assists: Nikki Dailey (UI) 43 | Piegza (SJ) 50|
|Digs: Bethany Yeager (UI) 16 | Piegza (SJ) 19|