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Volleyball defeats Wisconsin

BY EVELYN LAU | NOVEMBER 12, 2009 7:20 AM

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The Iowa volleyball team ended its streak by adding to Wisconsin’s.

Losers of a season-high five games in a row, the Hawkeyes pulled out a five-set, 3-2 victory over the Badgers (19-25, 25-17, 25-16, 20-25, 15-8) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday night. It was Wisconsin’s fourth-straight loss.

“I thought we carried over from [Nov. 7] when we played Penn State,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “I thought we played with tremendous effort. We just played a team that was better than us. I think our first set was shaky, but once we got settled in, we played some really good volleyball.”

In a match broadcast on the Big Ten Network, Iowa (12-15, 4-11) swept the season series with Wisconsin (11-13, 6-9) for the first time since 1994.

Senior outside hitter Megan Schipper had 19 kills, sophomore setter Paige Stevens dished out 52 assists, and senior libero Christina Meister added 30 digs in the win.

After falling into a 2-1 hole during the match, the Badgers battled back to take the fourth set and force a final fifth set.

Wisconsin opened the set with an early 2-0 edge. Iowa used a 5-1 run to get ahead, 5-3. The Badgers got within one, 6-5, but the Hawkeyes used a 9-3 run afterward to take the 15-8 victory, completing the season sweep.

Iowa was without two of its starters in junior setter Mara Hilgenberg and junior outside hitter Aimee Huffman. Hilgenberg was diagnosed with H1N1 earlier in the week, but Huffman was out as a last-minute scratch after coming down with mono.

Junior Katie Kennedy and Stevens got the start in place of the two seasoned players.

“I was shocked [at the news],” sophomore middle blocker Mallory Husz said. “They are so versatile. I think it was great we had people step up. Paige stepped up tremendously. I think it was good because we had great faith in each one of our teammates.”

The Badgers took the early 1-0 match lead after taking the first set. Wisconsin out-hit Iowa .286 to .091 in the first game. Schipper and Nilges had three kills apiece, Stevens had 10 kills, and Meister had four digs.

During the second set, the Hawkeyes hit for an impressive .452 attack percentage, while the Badgers were held to .184. Iowa also out-blocked Wisconsin 4-0. Junior middle blocker Katie Kennedy had five kills, sophomore Mallory Husz hit .571 in the set.

In the third set, Iowa carried over the momentum to take a 2-1 advantage in the match after holding Wisconsin to a minus-.128 hitting percentage. Schipper had four kills, while Meister had six digs, and Stevens dished out six assists in the set.

The win added a boost of confidence for the Hawkeyes.

“Anytime you get in a rut of losing a few in a row, any kind of win is good,” Meister said. “But beating Wisconsin was a big one. We beat them our first game out, and then they’ve been on a run. They’ve been playing really well, so beating them at home on television — just winning was awesome. It was just a good night.”

Iowa will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday to host No. 13 Minnesota at 7 p.m.


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