Hawkeyes Down Valpo in Challenge Finale

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Aug. 25, 2012

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa volleyball team defeated Valparaiso, 3-1, on Saturday night in its final match of the Hawkeye Challenge presented by Comfort Suites (21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-16). The match was held on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We are capable of playing some pretty good volleyball,” said head coach Sharon Dingman. “We were flat earlier after an emotional win last night. I was proud of the way we rebounded. We had to find our groove and our confidence.”

Three Hawkeyes registered double-digit kills. Junior Rachael Bedell recorded a match-high 18 and sophomore Alex Lovell notched 13. Junior Chante’ Thompson added 10 kills. In addition, junior Nikki Dailey led Iowa with a match-high 45 assists while classmate Bethany Yeager turned in 24 digs.

The Black and Gold dropped the opening set for the first time this season, 25-21. With the score tied 8-8, the Crusaders (2-2) grabbed a 12-8 lead with a four-point run they never relinquished. Dailey led Iowa with a set-high 11 assists.

The home team responded with a 25-21 second set victory of its own to even the match up at a set apiece. Trailing 7-4, the Hawkeyes went on an 8-3 run to force a Valparaiso timeout and grab a 12-10 lead. Iowa would not trail the rest of the way. Lovell registered five kills to lead Iowa in the set and Dailey dished out a set-high 10 assists. Yeager added seven digs while sophomore Katie Kelley turned in six.

The Hawkeyes took control of the match with a 25-22 third set win. The two teams went back-and-forth to open the frame. Trailing by three, the Crusaders used a four-point run to grab a 15-14 lead. Iowa answered with a four-point run of its own to grab the lead for good at 18-15. Thompson and Bedell each recorded five kills in the set. Yeager led the way with nine digs and Dailey tallied 11 assists.

Iowa closed the match out in the fourth set, winning 25-16. The hosts trailed 8-4 before a 10-3 run put them in control. The Hawkeyes led 14-11 and extended their advantage throughout the remainder of the set. Bedell led all with eight kills in the final frame and Dailey added 13 assists.

Yeager and Thompson were both named to the All-Tournament Team. Yeager registered 86 digs in the four-match tournament and added 12 assists. Thompson notched 38 kills and recorded two career-best matches. Southeast Missouri captured the championship with a 3-1 record and a tiebreaker advantage over Iowa (3-1).

“Both are very deserving,” said Dingman. “Chante’ is the energy and enthusiasm on the floor right now. She has everybody paying attention to her. Bethany was so steady throughout, especially tonight. She passed the ball really well tonight.”

Iowa continues action Aug. 31 at the Oakland Tournament in Rochester, Mich. The Hawkeyes will open against Eastern Illinois at 3:30 p.m. Iowa will also face Toledo (9 a.m.) and Oakland (6 p.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team
Bethany Yeager (Iowa)
Chante’ Thompson (Iowa)
Emily Coon (SEMO) – MVP
Colleen Yarber (SEMO)
Julie Shives (SEMO)
Ellen Vandenberg (Valparaiso)
Taylor Root (Valparaiso)
Kelli Fiegen (South Dakota State)
Mia Townsell (Chicago State)

Valparaiso at Iowa 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Valpo (2-2) 25 21 22 16
Iowa (3-1) 21 25 25 25

Statistical Leaders
Kills: Rachael Bedell (UI) 18 | Kelsey Victor (Valpo) 11
Assists: Nikki Dailey (UI) 45 | Kelsey Barrington (Valpo) 20
Digs: Bethany Yeager (UI) 24 | Taylor Root (Valpo) 24