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Hawkeyes pass milestone

BY COURTNEY BAUMANN | NOVEMBER 06, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa volleyball team accomplished something it had not done in more than a decade on Wednesday night with a five-set win over Indiana — win three-straight conference matches.

Over a span of six days, the Hawkeyes have victories over Rutgers, Maryland, and most recently Indiana, moving their record to 4-9 (12-12 overall) in the Big Ten.

“It feels great just to know how far we’ve come and how hard we’ve worked for all of this and to see it paying off,” outside hitter Julianne Blomberg said. “I can’t really express how it feels. It feels awesome.”

With the win Wednesday night, Iowa now has more conference wins in a season than it has had since 2009, when it won five games.  

Head coach Bond Shymansky said he was more than happy with how far his team has come since he took over as head coach.

“One in a row in the Big Ten feels great,” he said. “Anytime you’re winning, you’re doing something good, something right. For us to get three in a row right now and keep climbing the conference standings is really exciting for our group. I just can’t say how immensely proud I am of them and how they’re fighting.”

Sophomore Lauren Brobst has been vital for the Hawkeyes thus far. She leads the team with 142 kills in conference play, 50 more kills than Jess Janota, who ranks second for the Hawkeyes.

She was one of three Hawkeyes who had double-digit kills against the Hoosiers. Alongside her were senior Alessandra Dietz and freshman Taylin Alm. The three had 13, 12, and 10, respectively.

“We’re taking some pretty big rips at some pretty key times, at the end of the set there when it’s going back and forth,” Dietz said. “I think that’s definitely credit to the competitive energy we bring in practice and that we’ve developed this season.”

Dietz’s 12 kills marked her conference high.

With seven games left in the season, the Hawkeyes head into the home stretch of their schedule. However, they have some stiff competition on the way.

Iowa must play No. 12 Purdue, as well as Penn State and Wisconsin, which were both previously ranked, over the course its next three games.

Although the tough schedule could be a challenge for the young volleyball team, Shymansky has a positive outlook.

“We’re kind of running the gauntlet here again, and it will remind us a lot of how we started the Big Ten play,” he said. “It was all top-notch teams every night, a slugfest. Our team is just ready to take that on; I can just feel it in our group.

“We’re not worried about it anymore … I think they believe in each other and believe in themselves, which is really a cool feeling as a program.”

That is not to say that the Hawkeyes are becoming lax.

“[Our confidence] is pretty high, but not too high because we don’t want to be like ‘Oh, we’re going to win the next one,’ ” Alm said. “We definitely have good confidence but not cocky or anything.”

Follow @cbomb12 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa volleyball team.


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