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Iowa volleyball taking confidence on the road to Minnesota

BY KYLE MANN | OCTOBER 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa volleyball team will be back on the road this weekend, heading to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Gophers will enter the match ranked No. 25. After taking No. 11 Illinois to five sets and upsetting No. 24 Northwestern in five sets, Iowa was swept by No. 5 Wisconsin earlier this week.

Iowa will try to get back into the groove it found over the past week and get back to winning.

Despite their top-25 ranking, the Gophers enter this match as a potentially vulnerable squad. Standing only 13-7 overall and a mere 3-6 in the conference, Minnesota has dropped three matches in a row and will meet a Hawkeye squad that is beginning to surge.

“We kept saying there would be the surge that would happen,” head coach Bond Shymansky said. “I don’t think we’re ‘streaky’ by any stretch of the imagination; I don’t think it’s that. I think we’re finally getting better, and the team understands that we’re getting better.”

The Hawkeyes have waited for several weeks for things to come together on the floor. On some nights, Lauren Brobst played well. Other nights, it was Alessandra Dietz or Jess Janota. Shymansky said that when numerous players began to have big nights at the same time, then the team would have success.

Brobst has been on a rampage for weeks; that’s no secret. Recently, senior Dietz has maintained her consistently solid contribution, and freshman Janota has begun to resemble a lethal attacker in Big Ten competition. Furthermore, 6-5 freshman Taylin Alm has seen an increase in playing time and has also become a contributor.

“It feels awesome to know that we have other people on our team who can step up at any given moment,” Brobst said.

After some trial and error by Shymansky and the coaching staff, the Hawkeyes seem to have gotten a better feel for who puts them in the best position to win and also how to most properly use each player at a given moment.

When the Hawkeyes take the floor against Minnesota, they will do so with a confidence that they can compete, something they might not have done two weeks ago. And not just because they sort of think they can, but because they now know they can and have been battle-tested in recent matches.

“All the pieces are finally coming together,” Janota said. “We finally tweaked it so many times, finally figured out what works best in certain rotations.”

Follow @KyleFMann for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa volleyball team.


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