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Iowa volleyball swept again

BY CARLOS SOSA | NOVEMBER 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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Twenty-five.

That’s the number of consecutive sets the Iowa volleyball team has lost after being swept by Indiana on Nov. 10.

The Hawkeyes found more offensive rhythm than they had in their previous three matches, but the Hoosiers still beat them in straight sets (25-21, 25-23, 25-16).

“We came out fighting strong and got to over 20 points in the first two sets, but it wasn’t enough,” Iowa libero Bethany Yeager said. “We weren’t playing our best game tonight, and in the third set, we came out with no fight at all.”

Iowa (10-19, 2-14 Big Ten) went point-for-point with the Hoosiers (12-16, 4-12) until midway through the first set. With the score tied at 12, Indiana went on a 7-2 run, giving the visitors a 5-point lead they didn’t relinquish.

En route to an opening-set win, the Hoosiers also managed to block 6.0 shots while keeping the Hawkeyes at a .116 kill percentage.

Iowa is prone to being sluggish after a first-set loss — the Hawkeyes haven’t scored more than 23 points in a second set since Oct. 27 against Ohio State.

“I thought, again, we got frazzled, but it was nice to compete in that second set,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “Indiana executed some things at the end of that set and being down 2-0 is a tough route for us to climb right now.”

Iowa hit .222 in the second set and managed to navigate the Indiana block better than in the first set. The Hoosiers, however, hit .368 and continued to expose a depleted Iowa frontline.

The bigger question, however, lies in the team’s psyche. Iowa overcame an early deficit and even held numerous leads throughout the second set but couldn’t close.

“We had some amateur errors that we shouldn’t have at the college level,” setter Nikki Dailey said. “But we put ourselves in position to win each set. It’s disappointing that we can’t close matches with all of the work we’ve put in.”

The Hawkeyes’ composure seemed to spiral out of control.

“We have skills, but something mentally is not clicking,” Yeager said. “We need to come in each set ready to play, even if we lost the first two.”

Indiana closed out the match by maintaining the level of play it showed in the previous two sets. The Hoosiers hit .387 in the final set and never seemed to worry about a Hawkeye team that’s been in flux since conference play started.

Having suffered 10-straight losses and with the season winding down, Iowa is looking for positive play.

Freshman Julianne Blomberg essentially hadn’t played all season. Her first start came on Nov. 8 against No. 21 Purdue, and on Nov. 10, she started her second game of the season. Despite recording 4 kills, she wasn’t happy about the result.

“Being a freshman, I have a lot of work to do to build toward being a starter and making an impact, but that’s what I’m trying to do right now,” said the native  of Chanhassen, Minn.,. “I’m working hard in practice, trying to help out the team so we can get a win.”


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