Oct. 28, 2011
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University of Iowa volleyball team dropped a four-set decision to eighth-ranked Penn State tonight inside Rec Hall (23-25, 25-18, 16-25, 20-25). Four Hawkeyes recorded double-doubles, including Megan Eskew, Tiffany Nilges, Alex Lovell and Nikki Dailey. Eskew, Lovell and Nilges combined for 35 kills and Dailey set a career-high with eight kills. She added 39 assists and 14 digs. Bethany Yeager picked up a match-high 22 digs.
“I thought we played really well tonight,” said head coach Sharon Dingman. “Without the win, I really couldn’t be more proud of our team. We fought hard and we played with an aggressive mentality.”
The Hawkeyes had their opportunities in the opening set, battling to seven ties and fighting off four set points, but the Nittany Lions narrowly out-killed the Hawkeyes, 16-15, and stole the 1-0 match advantage with a 25-23 win.
Following the tightly contested opening frame, the Hawkeyes came out firing in the second set to tie the match with a 25-18 victory. Iowa never trailed in the set and slammed 18 kills at a .415 clip. Dailey opened the scoring with a setter dump and eventually helped Iowa build a 10-6 advantage with a kill in the middle of the Penn State defense. The Hawkeyes would later build a five-point lead with consecutive kills from Nilges and a kill-block sequence by Lovell to extend their lead, 13-8. Nilges’ fourth kill of the frame and a Chante’ Thompson service ace helped maintain Iowa’s five-point advantage, 20-15, before kills from Mallory Husz, Dailey and Eskew helped Iowa close the set with the seven-point victory.
“The second set was about as well of a set as we’ve played all year,” said Dingman. “Tiffany was on fire, Megan was playing with intensity and the team just followed their lead. It was a great effort and really fun to watch.”
Penn State answered the intermission with a six-point run to start set three and eventually held on for the 25-16 win. The Hawkeyes then put another threat together in the fourth set, battling to a 19-19 score before losing their grip and sliding to a 25-20 loss.
“The fourth frame was a battle,” said Dingman. “I thought we maintained our composure and did some good things. We played great defense, we served aggressively and we attacked the net. The key will be to do the good things we did today and apply this attitude and mentality at Ohio State.”
Iowa returns to the court Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, when Ohio State hosts the Hawkeyes at 12 p.m. CT inside St. John Arena. Ian Martin, the voice of Iowa volleyball, will broadcast the match live on AM-800 KXIC and hawkeyesports.com.
|Iowa at Penn State||1st||2nd||3rd||4th|
|Iowa (11-13, 1-10)||23||25||16||20|
|Penn State (16-5, 9-2)||25||18||25||25|
|Kills: Megan Eskew (UI) 15 | Scott (PSU) 20|
|Assists: Nikki Dailey (UI) 39 | Hancock (PSU) 47|
|Digs: Bethany Yeager (UI) 22 | Longo (PSU) 18|