Sep 6, 2013
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VALPARAISO, Ind. — The University of Iowa volleyball team used a 3-0 victory over Rhode Island (2-2) to remain undefeated in 2013. The Hawkeyes own a 4-0 mark after recording their first three-set win of the season.
“It’s nice to win in three,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “I know that’s one thing (the team is) really excited about. Obviously every time you win you gain confidence, but Eastern Michigan and Valparaiso are really good. Every team we play is better and better, so the Hawkeyes have to continue to get better and better.”
A Grace Burns serving clinic fueled a 6-0 Hawkeye run to open set one. The senior recorded two service aces, a new career-high, in the stretch. Her efforts, combined with Alex Lovell and Alessandra Dietz kills, gave Iowa a lead it would not surrender for the remainder of the set. The Rams made a run of their own to tie it up 11 all, but a Dietz kill halted their charge and handed the Hawks all the momentum they needed to close the set 25-21.
Iowa never trailed in set two en route to a 25-12 win. The Hawkeyes once again began with a run, highlighted by a Dietz service ace, Erin Leppek and Lovell block, and a pair of kills from Lovell and Leppek, to go up 5-0. The Rams were only able to cut the deficit to three points before Iowa used a dominating 10-0 run to close out the set. Alyssa Klostermann recorded a pair of aces and a kill within the stretch, while Lovell, Leppek and Rachael Bedell each contributed a kill apiece.
Iowa and Rhode Island battled it out in set three, playing through 10 ties and five lead changes. The Hawkeyes trailed until a Bedell kill followed by a Dietz, Bedell block earned the team an 8-7 advantage. After taking turns with the lead, Iowa used a 4-0 run to regain control with a Bedell kill, Lovell kill, Leppek and Bedell block, and Klostermann kill series. Rhode Island fought back once again and tied it up 21-21 before the Hawkeyes used two Lovell kills and a pair of Dietz service aces to silence the Rams 25-22.
Lovell recorded a double-double in the match, leading the Hawkeyes with 15 kills and 17 digs, just one shy of her career-high 18.
“I thought she was really steady, so that alone helped the team a lot,” Dingman said. “She played at a high level and serve-received very well for us. She didn’t pass that well last weekend, so to watch her come out here tonight and take on every challenge thrown at her was really fun.”
Leppek tallied a season-high six kills and paced the team with a four block effort.
“That’s what we need from Erin (Leppek),” Dingman said. “She knows how she can best help our team win. She can be the best blocker on the floor at any given time if she keeps that mindset. It was nice to see her focus in and block some balls for us.”
Iowa had four post a hitting percentage of .250 or higher, including Klostermann (1.000), Dietz (.455), Leppek (.385), Lovell (.367), and Bedell (.250). As a team, the Hawkeyes posted a season-best .292 hitting percentage and tallied a season-high seven service aces.
The Hawkeyes resume play at the Valpo Popcorn Classic on Saturday, Sept. 7, with a pair of matches. The first against Eastern Michigan begins at 2 p.m. CT, and match two against host Valparaiso is slated for 7 p.m. CT.
Gametracker is available through hawkeyesports.com. The Valparaiso match can be viewed live at valpoathletics.com/volleyball/schedule/ free of charge.