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Schipper, Meister honored in volleyball loss

BY EVELYN LAU | NOVEMBER 30, 2009 7:20 AM

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The Iowa volleyball team left in tears on Nov. 28.

On a night when outside hitter Megan Schipper and libero Christina Meister were honored during the team’s Senior Night, the Hawkeyes simply couldn’t find their rhythm.

Coming off a thrilling five-set victory against Purdue on Nov. 27, Iowa (13-19, 5-15) failed to follow its strong performance with another win.

The Hawkeyes fell in straight sets, 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-20), to the Indiana Hoosiers (17-17, 6-14) in their final game of the season.

“I thought our seniors played really well, and it is about them,” Iowa head coach Sharon Dingman said. “That’s what we talked about. We had a great year. … I saw a lot of really good things.

Obviously, we wanted a different result — for ourselves and for the program, but certainly for Christina and Schip.”

Despite putting in its best effort, Iowa spent much of the match chasing Indiana, unable to rally a comeback.

Junior middle blocker Becky Walters had 10 kills, junior setter Mara Hilgenberg tallied 23 assists, and Meister managed 12 digs in the losing effort.

In the first set, Iowa traded points with Indiana before the Hoosiers went on a 4-0 run to take the 8-4 edge. The Hawkeyes got within two points but couldn’t close the gap and called a time-out trailing 19-15 in the set.

Despite stopping three set points, the Hoosiers eventually took the set, 25-19, and a 1-0 match lead.

During the second set, Indiana got out to the early 8-3 lead. Iowa got as close as 4 at 13-9 but trailed for much of the set, eventually falling, 25-13.

The Hoosiers out-hit the Hawkeyes with an attack percentage of .500 while holding Iowa to .030 in taking the 2-0 advantage.

In the third set, Indiana had a fast start, taking another 8-3 advantage. The Hawkeyes battled to get within 2 at 14-12, but a 5-1 run gave the Hoosiers some room. Iowa called a time-out, but Indiana closed out the match.

“We just didn’t have the fight,” sophomore middle blocker Mallory Husz said. “We didn’t have the last final push. No, it’s not what we expected, but I think we can leave the season knowing we played our hearts out every game and just move on with that.”

Following the Senior Night ceremonies after the match, emotions were high. The thought of losing two seniors who had given much to the program over the past four years left several players teary-eyed.

Schipper finished her career ranked 11th all-time in kills for Iowa, and Meister was the first player since 1990 to average more than four digs per game, finishing the season ranked second in the Big Ten with 4.26 digs per set.

“My main goal tonight was just to have fun,” Schipper said. “It was just to end on good terms with my teammates and the coaches. We may not have pulled out a win, but I had a lot of fun in the third game. It was a lot better. You have to end on something and that just happens to be ours. You have to find the good in it.”

An emotional Meister had similar thoughts about looking toward the positive.

“It’s just so great to be a Hawkeye,” she said momentarily breaking down. “It’s a part of my life that’s ending, but I have a whole lot to look forward to. It’s been a lot of great memories in these four years and a lot of life lessons learned.”


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