Iowa volleyball drops two in Big Ten home debut


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The Iowa volleyball team learned this weekend it has more work to do before it starts to win Big Ten matches.

“We have to come out stronger in the first set,” junior libero Bethany Yeager said. “We can’t try to fight off a [0-2 deficit] in game three in the Big Ten with these good teams.”

Over the weekend, Iowa struggled to start matches off with the proper intensity. No. 24 Michigan State (14-2, 2-2 Big Ten) beat Iowa (8-9, 0-4) with consistent energy throughout the match, whereas Iowa faltered through all three sets. The Hawkeyes fell in straight sets (25-19, 25-16, 25-22).

“We keep waiting around, expecting things to happen to determine how were going to play,” Yeager said. “We need to attack them and be the ones to jump on the other team. We can’t take one point off.”

Hawkeye defense allowed the Spartans to hit .314 in the first set, while the Black and Gold hit .258. Iowa held close, 11-10, in the first set, but Michigan State pulled away from Iowa with steady hitting.
But the Hawkeyes faltered more in the second set, hitting -.045 and committing 11 errors.

“When we get down on a run, we need to pick each other up,” sophomore blocker Alessandra Dietz said. “Every time we get a point we need to go all out and be there for our teammates.”

The third set gave Iowa hope it’s capable of winning Big Ten matches. The Hawkeyes battled Michigan State and even held an early lead in the third set, 12-8, but still came up short in the sweep.

Over the course of the weekend, the Hawkeyes didn’t play up to their capabilities and heard it inside the huddle from head coach Sharon Dingman.

“It’s intense because were not showing our fans here at Carver what we’re really capable of,” setter Nikki Dailey said. “Our first and second set, we didn’t play like the team our coach sees, and she really got on us about that.”

Iowa had the same problem the day before against Michigan, where the Hawkeyes lost in straight sets for the second time on the weekend (25-14, 25-21, 25-20). Against the Wolverines, Iowa’s head coach was dissatisfied with her squad’s ability to finish points.

“We have to kill the ball. We can’t pass that well and hit zero,” Dingman said. “Our hitters have to figure things out and have to trust themselves more.”

The Hawkeyes didn’t kill the ball well, registering a .000 hitting percentage in their final two sets. Dailey passed the ball well, finishing the Michigan match with 28 assists, but only two of her hitters had over 5 kills. Freshman Erin Radke led the team with 9 kills.

The second weekend of Big Ten Play showed Iowa that winning in the nation’s toughest volleyball conference takes composure and being able to trust its talent.

“We have to have more energy and more passion on the court,” senior Allison Straumman said. “We have to bring it every single play.”

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