Volleyball upsets  No. 12 Purdue

BY KYLE MANN | NOVEMBER 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa volleyball team won its fourth match in a row with a four-set victory over No. 12 Purdue on Nov. 8.

The upset was the most impressive of the streak, as well as the crown jewel of the 2014 season thus far.

Purdue entered the night highly ranked, 19-6 overall, 9-4 in the Big Ten, and the Hawkeyes flat-out looked like the better team.

It began with a strong set one, in which the Hawkeyes hit .440 and had five players with 2 or more kills, including 4 and 3 by Lauren Brobst and Alessandra Dietz, respectively, who both had a flawless hitting percentage.

The Hawkeyes won the opening set, 25-16, and followed that with a more closely contested 25-23 victory in the second. When the Boilermakers stole the third set and forced a fourth, oddly enough, the Hawks had them right where they wanted them.

Curiously, for such a relatively young team, including the Nov. 8 victory, coach Bond Shymansky’s squad is now 7-1 in matches that go to four sets or more.

The final set was tight out of the gate, but again the Hawkeyes took control of the set and cruised to victory. Four Brobst kills and 3 more by Taylin Alm and Julianne Blomberg powered the team to a 25-19 win.

“We’ve been on a run, and it’s a great feeling to be able to show that against one of the top teams in the nation,” Dietz said. “That’s something we’ve been talking about and waiting for, and it’s nice to capitalize on it.”

Iowa had a strong contributing five for the entire night, and the diversified attack was crucial to pulling the upset.

Dietz finished with 5 kills, Blomberg and Alm had 8, and Jess Janota was second with 9. The night, however, belonged to Brobst. She has had many impressive nights, but perhaps none more than this: The sophomore had 22 kills on a .472 hitting percentage.

“The offensive direction was really sharp,” Shymansky said. “Brobst was unbelievable tonight. I’m really proud of what she’s doing.”

He’s also proud of what his team is doing. With the weekend upset, Iowa now moves to 13-12 overall and has its first four-match winning streak since 1994 in Big Ten play. Their five conference wins this season is the most since 2009.

As the numbers and achievements are starting to provide hard evidence that the program is heading upwards, the players notice it, too.

“It really feels good to see our team come out and compete as we did, but not only to win but to feel like we were actually beating them,” Blomberg said.

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