Volleyball looks to end skid


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One team’s losing streak will end tonight.

Iowa (11-13, 3-9) will go for the season sweep of Wisconsin (11-10, 6-6) in a match broadcast on the Big Ten Network in Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 7 p.m.

The Hawkeyes are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, and the Badgers have a three-game slide.

Both teams were on the network to open the Big Ten season when Iowa faced Wisconsin on Sept. 23.

The Hawkeyes came away with the 3-1 victory in Madison.

The last time the Big Ten Network aired an Iowa home volleyball game was in 2007.

“This is a very exciting week for Hawkeye volleyball, because we get to showcase our program on the Big Ten Network,” second-year head coach Sharon Dingman said. “It is important for us to build on the energy we displayed versus Penn State. The crowd was great, and I’m sure were very entertained. That is the atmosphere we hope to create for every home match.”

The Hawkeyes most recent loss arrived in the form of a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-13) sweep during Iowa’s match against defending two-time national champion and No. 1-ranked Penn State on Nov. 7.
Junior middle blocker Becky Walters and outside hitter Aimee Huffman led Iowa with seven kills each, junior setter Mara Hilgenberg dished 21 assists, and senior libero Christina Meister added 15 digs in the loss.

A record-breaking 2,802 fans — the largest volleyball crowd ever at Carver-Hawkeye Arena — were on hand to watch.

“The support we continue to have is greatly appreciated,” Dingman said. “Hawkeye fans appreciate hard work and disciplined effort, and it is our goal to give them that every time we take the court.”

Despite only having three days to practice as opposed to a normal full week , some players said they don’t feel too much of a disadvantage.

“It helps we’ve already played them before,” sophomore middle blocker Mallory Husz said. “We have the film from that to look back on. It isn’t too beneficial for us to not have the full week of practice, but I think we’ll be ready.”

The Badgers are led by senior outside hitter Brittney Dolger, a 2007 second-team All-American. She ranks eighth in the Big Ten in kills, averaging 3.37 per set. Sophomore setter Janelle Gabrielsen is ninth in assists with 9.58 per set, and junior Wisconsin libero Kim Kuzma is ninth in digs with 3.56.

Consistency has been the biggest problem for the Hawkeyes throughout the season. However, the Iowa coaching staff believes once the players transition how they play in practice to the court, success should follow.

“At some point, we just have to dig deep down inside and say, ‘We’re going to get it done,’ and execute on all levels,” assistant coach Jason Allen said. “Until that happens, we’re probably going to be inconsistent. There’s not one thing we need to do really well for that to happen. I think we work really hard in practice, but we have to do a better job of translating that into a match.”

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