Sept. 19, 2015
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — With a 3-0 victory over Drake on Saturday afternoon, the University of Iowa volleyball team clinched the 2015 Holiday Inn Hawkeye Challenge championship. The win marks Iowa’s eighth straight victory — the programs longest streak since 2006 — and its fourth consecutive three-game sweep.
The Hawkeyes improve to 10-3 on the season with the win, marking the best start for the program since 2006.
“Beating Drake 3-0 is a good finish to the weekend,” said UI head coach Bond Shymansky. “We had another great offensive showing tonight. We just got a lot from everybody. Our offensive is clicking. We’re doing the things we need to do to be a top-25 team and to be a contender in the Big Ten.”
Junior Loxley Keala was named the tournament’s most valuable player, while senior Mikaela Gunderson and freshman Reagan Davey earned all-tournament team honors. Keala registered 152 assists in four matches, averaging 12.67 assists per set. Gunderson hit .408 in four matches with 24 kills, while Davey notched 33 kills on the weekend, including a career-high 14 against Coastal Carolina earlier today.
Iowa grabbed an early lead in the first set and never looked back. The Hawkeyes used a 10-0 run to create separation and coast to a 25-15 set-one win. Freshman Libby Koukol served up the rally and contributed an ace, while Keala (1), junior Ashley Mariani (3), and Davey (3) all added kills.
Down 5-6 in the second set, the Hawkeyes used a five-point swing to take the lead. Three-straight kills by Gunderson, junior Lauren Brobst, and Davey guided the rally. They never lost the momentum from there, ending the set on a 4-0 run (25-12). Brobst paced the Hawkeye offense with six kills, while Keala distributed 15 assists.
After a back-and-forth battle to start the third, the Hawkeyes went on a 10-3 run to win the set, 25-16, and the match, 3-0. Sophomore Jess Janota had the hot hand, recording five kills in eight attempts. The Iowa serving game proved to be effective as Koukol, Mariani, and freshman Molly Kelly all recorded aces.
“So far they have lived up to the challenge and the goal we put forth throughout this stretch of the season,” said Shymansky. “I couldn’t be more proud of our group. Now that we have nonconference under our belt, we are ready. Our group has really been battle-tested from some fantastic teams. Now we’re ready to take on some great Big Ten opponents.”
The Hawkeyes open Big Ten Conference action at home against Nebraska on Sept. 23. First serve is set for 7 p.m. (CT) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
|Drake vs. Iowa||1st||2nd||3rd|
|Kills: Mariani/Brobst/Janota (IOWA) 10 | Inderski (DU) 10|
|Assists: Keala (IOWA) 41 | Brown (DU) 11|
|Digs: Olsen (IOWA) 25 | Inderski/Thommi (DU) 15|
|Blocks: Davey/Gunderson (IOWA) 3 | Allen (DU) 2|