Iowa Outlasts Indiana, Wins 3rd-Straight B1G Match

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Nov. 5, 2014

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa volleyball team (12-12, 4-9) won its third-straight match against a Big Ten opponent with a 3-2 victory over Indiana (14-11, 5-8) on Wednesday night on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“For us to get three in a row right now and keep climbing in conference standings is really exciting for our group,” first-year head coach Bond Shymansky said. “I just can’t say how immensely proud I am of how they’re fighting.”

It is the first time Iowa has won three-straight conference matches since 1994 when the team won eight-straight and went on to clinch a NCAA Tournament berth, and the first time the program has recorded four conference victories in a season since 2009 when the team went 5-15. The Hawkeyes now have three consecutive wins over the Hoosiers, all in five sets, in the past two seasons.

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“We have so much volleyball in front of us, but our group is striding and they’re not getting rattled in tight moments,” Shymansky said. “For us to get another fifth set win is great. It’s been a really great learning curve for us here in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and it started weeks ago when we had the fifth set loss to Illinois and then just three days later beat Northwestern in a fifth set. Now I see our group with the confidence in those tight moments.”

After playing through four ties early, the Hawkeyes used a five-point drive to seize the momentum in set one. Julianne Blomberg served up the run, which included two Taylin Alm kills, two service aces and a Blomberg kill. Iowa held off a late Indiana push to post a 25-18 win in the opening set. Blomberg led the offense with three kills in the set, while Lauren Brobst and Jess Janota each recorded two.

The Hawkeyes dropped the second set to Indiana 25-22, but recovered with a 25-21 win in the third set. Iowa posted a .400 attack percentage in the set and held the Hoosiers to a .189 percentage. Brobst recorded four kills to lead Iowa in the stretch, while Blomberg and Dietz added one apiece.

With a 25-19 fourth set win, the Hoosiers forced a fifth, deciding set. The teams played through 12 tie scores and five lead changes before the Hawkeyes could pull off the 17-15 victory and outlast Indiana 3-2 in the match. The Hoosiers served set point twice, but Iowa used a Mikaela Gunderson kill, Michelle Fugarino service ace and a Dietz and Janota combination block to key the win.

Brobst led the offense with 13 kills on the night, followed by Dietz with 12 and Alm with 10 — reaching a career-high for the third-straight match. Setters Kaylee Smith and Alyssa Klostermann dished out 30 and 19 assists in the match, respectively.

Defensively, the Hawkeyes excelled with 16 blocks to Indiana’s 6.5. Dietz led the blocking front with eight total, while Gunderson and Brobst compiled seven and six, respectively.

Blomberg contributed in many ways on the court, leading the team with a career-high 20 digs, matching her career-high for the third time this season with seven kills and serving up a pair of aces.

“She has been such a great story,” Shymansky said. “Julianne passes, jump serves, digs, blocks and does a lot of things for us in an expanded role.

“There was a time this spring when I wasn’t sure she was going to make it. I wasn’t sure she wasn’t going to wash out and go away, or if it was going to get too hard for her. I pushed her harder than anyone else on the team because I thought there was something in there. She’s a great rags-to-riches story out there on the court. She came here as a walk on and now she’s a sixth rotation player and our court captain. She’s just doing a tremendous amount for our competitive advantage as a team right now.”

Iowa continues its home stand with a match against No. 12-ranked Purdue at 7 p.m. (CT) Saturday on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa vs Indiana 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Iowa (12-12, 4-9) 25 22 25 19 17
Indiana (14-11, 5-8) 18 25 21 25 15

Statistical Leaders
Kills: Brobst (IOWA) 13 | Anderson (IU) 17
Assists: Smith (IOWA) 30 | Tallman (IU) 43
Digs: Blomberg (IOWA) 20 | Anderson/Harnish (IU) 14
Blocks: Dietz (IOWA) 8 | McDonald (IU) 4
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