Hawkeyes Celebrate Senior Night, Fall to No. 14 Michigan State

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Senior Lauren Brobst racked up 17 kills as the University of Iowa volleyball team fell 3-1 to No. 14 Michigan State on Saturday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Prior to the match, Iowa honored seniors Ashley Mariani, Alyssa Klostermann, Loxley Keala and Brobst in front of 2,047 members of Hawkeye Nation.
“There’s no denying that we are building something great here, and these seniors are a big part of that” said head coach Bond Shymansky. “Ashley Mariani was great tonight, and Loxley Keala, as usual, set a great offense for us. Alyssa Klostermann came in and gave us a nice spark there at the end, and Lauren Brobst just tore it up. That’s really how you want to go out as a senior. You want to go out with a bang. I’m just so proud of our seniors tonight and really our whole team this season.”
Iowa concluded the regular season with a 19-13 mark and a 9-11 record in the Big Ten. This is the first winning record for the Hawkeyes since 2000 when they finished the season 15-13 overall and 11-9 in league play.
“Tonight was really a microcosm of the whole season, frankly,” said Shymansky. “We just fought and fought. Tremendous improvement for us all through the course of the year, and obviously the Big Ten is bringing heavyweight hitters every night. Really fantastic job by our passing group. Michigan State is the best serving team in the conference and we really delivered with serve-receive. It has been a great run for us so far, one win shy of 20 wins and I’m proud of what our girls are doing.”
In addition to Brobst, Meghan Buzzerio racked up 10 kills, while Mariani tallied eight. Keala led the team with 42 kills. Alexa Ito followed up a personal-best 11 digs against No. 3 Wisconsin (Nov. 26) with a new career-high 15 digs against MSU, while Annika Olsen amassed 25 digs.
After they dropped the first set 25-18, the Hawkeyes came out strong in set two and took an early 6-2 advantage. Reghan Coyle had two kills, while Mariani and Molly Kelly chipped in a kill and an ace, respectively. The Spartans (24-8, 13-7 Big Ten) came charging back with a 7-3 run to draw even at 9-9. After trading points to knot the score at 14-14, Michigan State scored back-to-back points, prompting Iowa to call a timeout.
Straight out of the timeout, Buzzerio scored back-to-back points to spark an 8-3 burst as the Hawkeyes took a 22-19 lead. Brobst racked up three kills and Keala registered an ace during the stretch. Michigan State used a 4-1 stretch to tie the set at 23-23, but Janota capped a long rally with a kill to give Iowa the 24-23 lead before the home team secured a 25-23 second-set win. This is the first set the Hawkeyes have taken from Michigan State since Sept. 25, 2010.
Janota tallied a kill and an ace early in set three to knot the score at 2-2. The visitors used a 13-4 run to take a 15-6 lead, but the Hawkeyes responded with a 14-9 burst of their own to cut the lead to 24-20. The rally, however, fell just short as the Spartans clinched a 25-20 set victory. Buzzerio and Brobst led Iowa with four kills each, while Olsen added eight digs in the set.
Michigan State jumped out to an early 8-1 advantage in set four, but Iowa answered with a 15-6 run to take a 16-14 advantage. Mariani registered two kills, while Brobst, Buzzerio and Coyle each added one. Kelly had two aces and Keala added a block to complete the stretch. The Spartans used a 10-2 burst to regain the lead (24-18). Iowa then scored three consecutive points before the visitors captured the 25-21 set win.
“I cant say enough about the Hawkeye fans and the support we got this year,” said head coach Bond Shymansky. “What a great crowd tonight. Great support for our young women. People are believing. They are believing what we believe inside the program and we want to make sure we capitalize on that as we move forward.”
The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship bracket will be announced on Sunday at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU.