Sept. 21, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa and No. 25 Iowa State (6-4) battled it out in front of 2,474 fans, the third largest volleyball crowd in Iowa history, on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday night. In the end, the Cyclones took the match from the Hawkeyes, 3-1. The loss brings Iowa’s overall record to 9-3.
After dropping the opening set to Iowa State, 25-11, the Hawkeyes fought back to even the match, outlasting the Cyclones 29-27 in set two. Iowa fell behind by six points early on but charged back, outscoring Iowa State 6-2. A trio of Rachael Bedell kills, an Erin Leppek service ace, and Lauren Brobst and Alessandra Dietz block fueled the scoring drive.
Iowa State countered with a four-point run, but once again Iowa responded and produced a pair of runs, tying the set at 19 apiece. Kills from Alex Lovell, Erin Radke, and Bedell, a Leppek service ace, and a Leppek, Radke block highlighted the Hawkeye effort.
A 3-0 Cyclone run preceded an Iowa scoring burst, in which the Hawkeyes notched 10 points to Iowa State’s five. Four Lovell kills, a Radke kill, and a Kari Mueller service ace helped Iowa power through five ties and secure the final set two win, 29-27.
“I like the way we settled down after the first set,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “We were just a bucket of nerves and excitement. We didn’t really know how to control our energy. We had to figure out how to calm down, but still play with energy. I was really pleased with how we were able to do that after the first set.”
Iowa controlled the momentum early in the third set using a Dietz service ace, kills from Radke, Lovell and Leppek, and solo blocks from Bedell and Brobst to stake a 7-4 advantage. After the Cyclones came back to tie it up 8-8, the Hawkeyes used a four-point push to get back on top. Kills from Bedell and Dietz, a Nikki Dailey service ace, and a Dietz and Bedell block propelled the drive. The Hawkeyes maintained its lead until a 4-0 Cyclone run tied the match 21-21. Iowa State stole the momentum from there, closing the third set, 25-23.
Iowa tied Iowa State seven times in the fourth set, but could not pull ahead. The Cyclones never trailed en route to its 25-20 final set win to secure the match, 3-1.
“What I saw tonight was better than most of the Hawkeye volleyball I watched last year, so that’s encouraging,” Dingman said. “I think we’re going to do well. As a team, we always talk about playing next point volleyball, and I think the team that can do that gives themselves the best chance to win. As a team, we haven’t been able to do that yet.
“We have some players that have figured it out individually. As a team, that’s what we need to figure out. That’s one area we’ll work on. I like the way we settled down. We settled in and played some really solid volleyball.”
Lovell led the Hawkeyes with 17 kills, while Dietz posted a team best hitting percentage of .353 in the match. Setter duo Dailey and Alyssa Klostermann dished out 24 and 13 assists, respectively. Libero Bethany Yeager led the squad with 13 digs and Klostermann added 11 for a double-double. Dietz and Leppek each recorded four blocks.
The Hawkeyes open Big Ten action next weekend with a pair of matches on the road. Iowa takes on Illinois on Sept. 27 and Northwestern on Sept. 28. Each match is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.