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Hawkeye volleyball stuns No. 12 Purdue, goes 2-0 in Indiana

BY CARLOS SOSA | OCTOBER 08, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Hawkeye volleyball team capped its third weekend of Big Ten play with its first two conference wins. On Oct. 6, the Iowa squad pulled out an impressive win in straight sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-18) over No. 12 Purdue.

“We played so well,” Iowa head coach Sharon Dingman said in a release. “The players deserved this win more than anything. Bethany [Yeager] was amazing. Our outside [hitters] played amazingly … Our entire team played really good volleyball.”

The win over the Boilermakers (13-4, 4-2) marked the first time Iowa (10-9, 2-4) has swept Purdue since Nov. 10, 2000. That match was also the last time the Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers on the road.  No. 12 Purdue is the highest ranked team Dingman ’s squad has beaten during her tenure.

Iowa came out with focused in the first set, taking a 14-10 lead early, but then, Purdue was able to make a 6-2 run to tie the score at 16-16. The two teams went back and forth the rest of the set until sophomore Alex Lovell hit the set-winning kill for the Hawkeyes.

In the second set, Iowa and Purdue played evenly. The Hawkeyes were trailing late in the set, 19-16, but a 6-point run allowed Iowa to rebound and grab a 22-19. After the set was tied at 22-22, kills by Chanté Thompson and Lovell gave Iowa a 24-22 lead. Iowa closed out the set thanks to an attacking error by 2011 All-American Purdue outside hitter Ariel Turner.

“Last year, we beat Purdue in the first two sets, then lost the last three,” junior setter Nikki Dailey said. “We didn’t want déjà vu to happen.”

It didn’t, as the third set was seemingly the easiest of the weekend for the Hawkeyes. Dailey had a match-high 37 assists and passed Jitka Stehnova for sixth all-time in Iowa history with 2,174 in her career. Lovell recorded a career-best 24 kills in the match, and junior Rachael Bedell contributed her sixth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 13 digs. Libero Bethany Yeager also registered a match-high 15 digs.

The match against Purdue marked the Hawkeyes’ highest hitting percentage of the season, with a .291 clip, while Iowa held the Boilermakers to .212.

“We were playing like the dominant team the whole match,” Dailey said. “After the match, we realized we had swept them in front of their crowd and in their gym.”

On Oct. 5, Iowa beat Indiana 3-1 (25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22) to grab its first Big Ten win.

Bedell led the team with a career-best 26 kills, Lovell added 13 kills, and Dailey started the weekend with 43 assists. Yeager (20) and senior Allision Straumann (12) each recorded double digit digs for the match.

“This is huge for Iowa volleyball,” Dingman said. “Winning last night, the way we did in four sets, on the road, gave our team a lot of confidence. It was a great weekend for the Hawkeyes.”

The players agreed.

“It was a major stride for the program,” Dailey said.

But it’s not enough to have one good weekend. Bedell warned that it will all be forgotten come Friday night.

“After the [Purdue] game, we were excited to get our first two conference wins,” she said. “But our main focus is to remember what we did this weekend and do the same next weekend.”


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