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Belief in each other key in Hawks first Big Ten victory

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | OCTOBER 22, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa volleyball team earned its first conference victory of the season when it defeated Indiana, 3-2, on Oct. 19, and while a notch in the win column is nice, the moral victory the team gained really has them buzzing.

After a disappointing performance against Purdue the previous evening, the Black and Gold pulled together, rallying on numerous occasions to defeat the Hoosiers in five sets and earn their first Big Ten win of the season.

“Perseverance was kind of theme for the night,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “It’s something you need to have if you want to win in this conference. Part of perseverance is finishing, and we finished tonight, so I think that’s a sign of growth and maturity. It feels so good to finally win.”

After blowing a 2-0 lead and letting the Hoosiers tie it up at 2, both teams settled in for the fifth and final set, which was perhaps the biggest test of wills the Hawkeyes have faced all season. Twice they stared at match point and nearly certain defeat in the face, and twice they held fast and were able to score huge points to keep them in it.

Ignoring a 14-12 Indiana lead, Iowa managed one last rally, capping off an amazing 4-0 run to end the match 16-14.

“Both teams played good enough to win, so I know that Indiana is hurting because we’ve been there, but the Hawkeyes are happy, and that’s really all I’m concerned with,” Dingman said.

Iowa senior Rachael Bedell echoed those sentiments.

“It was great to finally put it all together and get a win, especially at home in front of our fans,” she said. “It was great to show everyone what we can really do.”

She would know. One of the biggest factors in Iowa’s victory was the dominant play of its frontline. Bedell recorded season-high 22 kills, and outside hitter Alex Lovell tallied 20. Two blocks from junior Alessandra Dietz ensured that any rallies the Hoosiers might have had would be shut down quickly.

“That Rachael Bedell is going to give me a heart attack someday, but I love the way she plays,” Dingman said. “She was fearless, which was good, because it helps me be a little fearless as well.”

While their record may not indicate it, the Hawks have played tough enough to win a lot of their matches this season, and while losing every Big Ten meeting dating back to last December is certainly not an easy thing to deal with, it has brought the team closer together as a whole and taught each of them to rely on their teammates when things get tough.

So when the Haws saw all their hard work and belief in each other finally manifest itself in a victory, it was all the more rewarding.

“This win definitely goes back to how hard we play for each other,” Lovell said. “I know in all of our minds, we were thinking about making the next play or getting the next kill for the five other girls out on the court with us.”

In Lovell’s mind, the name on the front really is more important than the one on the back.

“You look at our team during the match, and I think it’s a lot about playing for them and not worrying about individual stats,” she said.


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