Iowa volleyball shows impressive performance against Arizona State


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The second week of the 2014 season is successfully in the books for the Iowa volleyball team. In the Arizona State Tournament, the Hawkeyes went 2-1 for the second weekend in a row, giving them a 4-2 record to begin the season.

Action began early on Sept. 6 against the Blazers of Alabama-Birmingham, and the Hawkeyes made fairly quick work of the first match.

A 25-16 first set victory set the tone, and the Hawks followed that with a 25-21 victory in the second set, in which the Hawkeyes never trailed. The Blazers provided resistance in the third set, but Alex Lovell — who had 11 kills in the match — led the team to a 25-22 clincher.

Senior Alessandra Dietz also contributed 9 kills on a .571 hitting percentage, and Mikaela Gunderson chipped in 5 with a .714 hitting percentage.

The day was good to the Hawkeyes and Lovell in particular. The senior was an absolute sniper and powered the team to a 4-1 victory in the day’s second match, against Idaho State.

The Bengals claimed the first set, 25-20, but Iowa responded admirably behind the lethal hitting of Lovell. She had 4 kills along with two service aces in the second set to trigger the comeback, 25-17.

She then had 8 kills in the third set to claim a 2-1 advantage.

Iowa won the fourth set, 25-21, and had its first undefeated day of the young season. Lovell finished with a season-high 19 kills.

Head coach Bond Shymansky’s young players were also crucial in the win over Idaho State.

Freshmen Kaylee Smith led in assists with 24, Michelle Fugarino led with 10 digs, and Taylin Alm led with 2 solo blocks and a block assist.

The Hawkeyes went on to face their first ranked opponent of the season, Arizona State, on Sunday. Although they kept it close all the way through, the hosting Sun Devils emerged as the victors.

After six ties and three lead changes, Arizona State captured the first set, 25-21. Iowa then led by as many as 9 points in the second set, but eventually dropped a tightly contested match, 32-30.

Iowa also led briefly early in the third set but was overtaken by the No. 17 Sun Devils. Despite a final push to climb within a point at 24-23, they could not avoid the sweep and dropped the final set, 25-23.

This was the first match of the season in which Lovell failed to reach 10 kills. Freshmen Jess Janota led the team with 10, and Fugarino again led with 12 digs.

Despite ending with a sweep, it was an encouraging weekend for Hawkeye fans. Iowa played well and had good wins against their first two opponents and fought hard against Arizona State.

The Hawks will be on the road again this weekend, playing four games in two days in the South Dakota State Classic in Brookings, South Dakota.

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