OSTROWIEC, Poland — The University of Iowa volleyball team defeated Ostrowiec Professional in 6-of-7 sets this week. The Hawkeyes downed Ostrowiec, 3-1, on Monday, before sweeping the Poland professional team on Tuesday.
“Seeing the skills of the Ostrowiec team was a good learning experience for us,” said UI head coach Bond Shymansky. “Our players are so specialized, so they have to learn a different rhythm and tempo of the game. It’s a good to learn from experience and ability. It’s a testament to top-level training and to a top-level league in Poland.”
After practicing alongside of each other on Monday morning, the Hawkeyes and Ostrowiec took the court on Monday evening.
In set one, the Hawkeyes got out to an early 3-0 lead and never looked back. Iowa used a six-point run with kills from freshmen Reghan Coyle and Reagan Davey and sophomore Jess Janota to create distance (14-7). A late 4-1 run — assisted by a pair of kills from junior Lauren Brobst and a block by Loxley Keala and Ashley Mariani — extended Iowa’s lead and helped secure a 25-23 set-one victory.
After dropping a close second set, 25-21, the Hawkeyes bounced back in set three. A late, 5-1, rally helped the Hawkeyes create space. Mariani added a block and two kills to the run and sophomore Kasey Reuter registered an ace to give the Hawkeyes a 21-12 lead and force a timeout. Ostrowiec responded with a 5-0 run of its own, but the Hawkeyes held on to win the set, 25-18, and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Hawkeyes dominated the fourth set, grabbing the momentum early with a 10-4 run. They controlled it from there, cruising to a 25-13 set victory to win the match, 3-1.
“We love this town,” said Keala. “Everyone has been so nice, welcoming, and generous. It’s just an amazing experience to play internationally and play such great competition. This has been the best competition that we’ve had in Europe, and it’s just been so fun to learn from other teams while we learn more about ourselves.”
Following a tour of the town, Iowa and Ostrowiec met again on Tuesday evening. Down 21-20 in the first set, the Hawkeyes used a 5-1 run to close the set and take a 1-0 lead in the match. A Brobst kill, Reuter ace, and three Ostrowiec errors down the stretch gave the Hawkeyes a 25-22 set victory.
Iowa came out firing in set two, opening with an 11-2 run. Janota contributed three kills to the rally, while Mariani and Keala combined for a block. The Hawkeyes remained in control from there, going on to win the set, 25-13.
The Hawkeyes kept the momentum in the third set. A pair of kills by Janota gave Iowa an early lead, and it never lost it from there. A late kill by Janota and an ace by Reuter sealed the three-set sweep for the Hawkeyes (25-15).
The Hawkeyes travel back to Germany on Wednesday to take on a pair of teams later this week.