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Iowa volleyball extends its losing streak to 9

BY CARLOS SOSA | NOVEMBER 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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The last match between Iowa and Purdue, on Oct. 6, ended in the Hawkeyes’ favor. On Thursday night, however, No. 21 Purdue would get its revenge with a win in straight sets (25-20, 25-11, 25-21).

The Hawkeyes started the match off well, but after the first 8 points, they began to lose their momentum.

“We had a lot of energy coming into [tonight’s match],” junior Rachael Bedell said. “This week, we focused a lot on breaking matches down to little games of three. That was going good at first, and then [Purdue] just got on a roll.”

Iowa began the match with a 12-7 lead but lost that quickly. The Boilermakers, fighting for a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament, kept their composure and regained the lead with a 10-2 run. After Purdue went up 17-14, the Boilermakers didn’t look back.

“I thought we competed pretty hard, except in the second set where they overwhelmed us,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “They’re a really good team, and they were playing for a lot tonight.”

With the end of the season looming, the Boilermakers wanted to do everything they could to improve their seeding and showed it in the second set. The Boilermakers jumped to 10-5 lead and forced Iowa to take a time-out. The time-out, however, didn’t sway the momentum in the Hawkeyes favor.

“One of the major issues tonight was defending the setter dump,” sophomore Alex Lovell said. “It gives a team so much momentum when their setter can get kills like that. After each of those kills, they would build their momentum, as ours was breaking down.”

In the second set Iowa only registered 10 points and was overmatched by Purdue in every statistical category.

“Halfway through the second set, little things began falling a part for us,” Bedell said. “And in the third, I think we found a fight in us at the end. We wanted to end with a little gumption.”

Iowa, after an abysmal second set, came out after intermission with more ease and it showed on the court.

Unlike the second set, the Hawkeyes were able to find an offensive groove. They had one more kill than Purdue, 15-14, ¬†and had more assists, 13-10. Iowa, however, couldn’t compensate for Purdue’s hitters.

“We served pretty well ,and that was one of our goals,” Dingman said. “Unfortunately, even when we got them out of system, Purdue’s [outside hitters] were awfully good tonight. Ariel Turner is nearing the end of her career, and she’s playing like it.”

Turner, arguably one of the best players in the country, and Sam Epenesa paved the way for the Boilermakers. The pair combined for 27 kills, hitting at a .460 clip.

One thing that was apparent against Purdue is that Dingman will allow her younger players to get court experience as the season winds down. Freshman Julianne Bloomberg made her first career start, and freshman Anne Yanda saw her first substantial playing time since early September.

“I haven’t played front row for the Hawkeyes since I’ve been here, so it was different,” Yanda said. “I thought we started off pretty strong but the tendency for our team is to get a little weaker each set, and we did that tonight.”


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