Yeager, Thompson make volleyball all-tourney team

BY CARLOS SOSA | AUGUST 27, 2012 6:30 AM

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After a tough loss to Southeast Missouri on Aug. 25, the Hawkeyes (3-1) finished their season-opening Hawkeye Challenge on a high note with a win against Valparaiso, (21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-16).

“Overall, I think the weekend showed us a lot. Obviously, any win is good,” Iowa volleyball head coach Sharon Dingman said. “Tonight [against Valpo] showed us even more. To watch Rachael [Bedell] struggle so much early and then just light it up at the end of the third set and into the fourth set was fun.”

Bedell tallied 16 kills against Southeast Missouri but also committed 10 errors, giving her an unsatisfactory .107 hitting percentage. And against Valpraiso, Bedell only tallied 3 kills for a .091 hitting percentage in the first set, and then hit -1.00 in the second.

Bedell and her squad started the Valpo match with chips on their shoulders from the loss earlier in the day. After dropping the first set against Valpo, 25-21, the Hawkeyes seemed headed for another loss until they regained their composure and finished off the visitors in four sets.

“In the very beginning [against Valpo] we were all just trying to get through the game and get it started,” Bedell said. “I started to tense up because I wasn’t playing as well as I wanted. But after we got the third game under our belt, I knew we had it.”

Bedell was the key player in putting away a stingy Valpo team. She was dominant in the last two sets and finished the match with 18 kills and 9 digs. Her communication throughout the match was instrumental in keeping the Hawkeyes lively on the court and not letting another match slip away.

“Bethany [Yeager] and I were trying to keep everyone talking the entire time,” Bedell said. “It helps keep the energy up. It was a long two days so we just pushed through the fatigue with our energy.”

Yeager was another key player in the Hawkeyes opening weekend. Her communication with her teammates sparked a comeback win, but her play on the court proved to be exceptional as well.

Over the weekend Yeager became the 14th Hawkeye to record 1,000 digs in her career.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” she said. “I give all the credit to my teammates. I wouldn’t be able to get a single dig without my teammates. A lot goes into it, but I just thank my teammates and coaches for that.”

Yeager was also named to the all-tournament team along with middle blocker Chanté Thompson.

“[Coach Dingman] and I talked a lot about being consistent,” Thompson said. “I wanted to start that early for this season and show that I can be consistent throughout the year. This weekend was the start to that.”

Thompson recorded 38 kills on the weekend, which was third on the team behind Bedell and sophomore Alex Lovell.

The Hawkeyes finished the weekend 3-1, with their only hiccup coming against tournament champion Southeast Missouri. But, opening weekend showed the Hawkeyes that there are still kinks to be worked out before their next match.

“I still think we need to work on catching on things early and adjusting to things quicker,” Bedell said. “Mixing up our shots in the front row and staying consistent throughout the game. I know we went up and down [through the weekend] so just working on being consistent.”

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