Nerves factor into Hawkeyes' loss to Iowa State
Playing to a home crowd against your biggest rival would make even the most focused athletes jittery, and the members of the Iowa women’s volleyball team were no exception.
The Hawkeye’s suffered only their third loss of the season on Sept. 21 to Iowa State. It was a big game that at times showed the Hawkeyes’ mismatch against Iowa State, but head coach Sharon Dingman said the loss was not a result of a lack of effort or ability by her squad.
“We were really jacked up,” she said. “I think knowing we were going to have a good crowd there, and knowing that it was a big game against a big rival like Iowa State, I think that we just got ourselves so excited about everything that was going on. and we didn’t know how to manage it right and use it to our advantage.”
The Black and Gold had trouble managing their nerves all night, which caused them to look like they were being overpowered by the Cyclones at times.
“I don’t know if it was so much that we were overmatched, but more that we just couldn’t even breathe,” Dingman said. “Being so excited and so tight at the same time is a tough way to play a game,”
The Hawks had some pretty good reasons to be nervous. For one, the 2,747 people on hand, was the third-largest crowd in Carver Hawkeye Arena history for a volleyball game — no doubt a result of the enormous in-state rivalry with Iowa State. The crowd was electric, but there was the impression that it was a little overwhelming for the Hawkeyes.
“The first set we definitely came out a little nervous,” senior Erin Radke said. “It’s a new court, and obviously, Iowa State is a huge, huge rival. We had a big crowd, which I think factored in. Sometimes when we play in front of a big crowd, I think it gives you some jitters.”
The new court Radke referred to was the brand-new Taraflex Sport M Plus playing surface. The Olympic standard for more than 30 years, Iowa is one of only six teams in the entire country to play on this state of the art floor.
“At times, I definitely think it could have affected us,” junior Alex Lovell said. “It’s definitely a more slippery surface, but I think it was more psychological because there was a big crowd there, and we wanted to show them what we could do, and I think that was what really got under our skin.”
One stat that stood out among the rest was their 23 errors as a team, including 7 in the final set.
“Errors have been and will continue to be our Achilles heel until we can get it straightened out,” Dingman said.
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