CORALVILLE, Iowa — University of Iowa volleyball fought until the very end to earn the win over Kent State, 3-2, at the Fryfest Invitational on Saturday night inside Xtream Arena.
Sophomore transfer Nataly Moravec posted a career-high 20 kills on the night, leading the Hawkeyes with a .459 clip. The upperclassmen trio of Caitlan Buettner, Anna Davis, and Delaney McSweeney registered double-figure kills, knocking down 16, 11, and 10, respectively. Freshman Gabby Deery posted a season-high eight kills and freshman Kaia Mateo forced two aces to mark her best on the season.
“Credit to Kent State and Coach Eckerman. They played extremely hard. We lost composure and paid the price, but we came back with great determination and intensity. Nataly (Moravec) went to another level and led the comeback, and Sydney (Dennis) helped dig us back to a fifth set win. We have many new faces, and we are learning a great deal set by set.”Iowa Head Coach, Jim Barnes
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1 (Kent State, 25-22): The Golden Flashes were quick to get on the board, before Iowa retaliated, tying the set at two. Iowa tied the set again at seven, but Kent State pushed its lead to 14-8. The Hawkeyes picked up momentum, narrowing the deficit to one (15-16) with back-to-back kills from Davis and Moravec. A kill from McSweeney and an error from the Flashes tied the set once again at 18. Iowa battled to the end, but Kent State came out on top.
SET 2 (IOWA, 25-23): Scoring was matched back-and-forth throughout the set. The Hawkeyes completed the longest runs with three-consecutive points, twice. A kill from Buettner and two Flash errors tied the set at 13, and the Flash took their last lead of the set at 16-15. Back-to-back kills from Davis and Moravec along with a Kent State error put the Hawkeyes up, 18-16. The teams went on to tie at 18, 20, and 22, but Iowa was able to clench the win with a kill from Buettner.
SET 3 (Kent State, 25-22): Kent State commanded the set, seeing a 15-point lead at its peak. The Hawkeyes battled until the very end with the freshmen sparking the first run of the set for Iowa, with two kills from Deery and one from Rosa Vesty as well as a block from the pair. The spread was then brought down to 10. The Hawkeyes went on a 9-1 run, closing the the gap to two, but the Flash were able to finish the set with a block to win.
SET 4 (IOWA, 25-18): Kent State notched the first two points of the set, before Iowa picked up its momentum. The score tied four times before Iowa dominated, going on an eight-point run. Moravec registered four-consecutive kills to secure the Hawkeyes lead, 15-11, and forced Kent State to call timeout. The Hawkeyes came out of the timeout, securing four more points before the Flash were able to get one on the ground. The push to end the set continued as Iowa expanded the lead to 10, and ultimately won the set off a service error from its opponent. Moravec led the way for the Hawkeyes with nine kills on 13 attempts, registering a .692 clip.
SET 5 (IOWA, 15-7): The final set began even matched with the teams tying the score five times before the Hawkeyes jumped out front, 13-6, on a seven-point run. This time, it was the veterans that stepped to the plate with kills from McSweeney (3), Buettner (2), Davis (1), and Urquhart (1). A kill from Deery and an error from Kent State settled the set and ultimately the match.
The Hawkeyes take on South Dakota State in their final match of the Fryfest Invitational on Sunday at 2 p.m. (CT) inside Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa. A live stream is available on B1G+ (subscription required).