Errors define highs and lows of Iowa volleyball games


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The Iowa volleyball team tallied only 29 attack errors in eight sets this weekend but committed 16 mistakes on services.

The low number of hitting errors boosted the Hawkeyes (11-8, 1-5 Big Ten) to their first Big Ten win, defeating Indiana on Oct. 7, 3-2 (25-14, 20-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-13). But service errors knocked Iowa down the next day, and the team lost, 3-0, to No. 11 Purdue on Oct. 8 (19-25, 13-25, 21-25).

"Going into the match [against Indiana], I thought the team with the most kills at the end would win," head coach Sharon Dingman said. "But I was wrong. I didn't anticipate us only having 16 errors. The difference was hitting percentage, for sure."

Iowa hit .231 against Indiana and .229 against Purdue, the team's two highest percentages in its Big Ten season. No. 6 Nebraska is the only other team to hit over .200 against the Boilermakers.

"That's why we had a chance in the first and third set — we were low-error," assistant coach Jason Allen said. "We were making them play a lot of volleyball and got them on their heels a lot. I don't think they expected that; they were thinking we'd be a lot more high-error."

Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Bedell contributed heavily to Iowa's high percentage against Purdue. Bedell only played in the third set, but she dominated at the net with nine kills and no errors. She finished with a .562 attack percentage.

"She became a go-to player right when she came off the bench," setter Nikki Dailey said. "Lately, Rachel's been coming off the bench really strong, so I knew from the start she was prepared. Her first swing, she had high hands and scored, so I just knew I was going to her again and again until they stopped her."

Bedell said the team has practiced being consistent at the net and lowering the number of hitting errors in each game.

"Our main point is if you just make a lot fewer errors, it's harder for the team to come back," Bedell said. "We've been focusing on not giving away points to the other team. It's something we've been working on all season, so it was great to see it work on the court."

Although pleased with the few hitting errors and high-attack percentage, Dingman said she was disappointed with the number of service errors over the weekend.

Iowa lost its final set to Purdue by 4 points but made five errors while serving.

"In a set you lose by 4 and you error five times behind the service line on balls that you're really not going after that hard, that's pretty disappointing," said Allen, who works with the team on serving. "To be that close, we just couldn't build anything. We couldn't get any momentum because we couldn't keep the ball in play."

Dingman and Allen said they were disappointed because the service errors made weren't the result of aggressive serving but "egregious" errors — hitting into the net or far out of bounds.

"Clearly, our inability to stop Purdue — not even stop, we couldn't even slow Purdue's offense down — that was a real problem," Dingman said. "Part of that goes back to serving. We didn't serve aggressively, and we had a lot of service errors … We just got eaten up there."

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