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Hawks hope to bounce back at home hosting No. 4 Wisconsin

BY KYLE MANN | NOVEMBER 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa’s volleyball team is back at home this weekend, hosting No. 4 Wisconsin in Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Hawkeyes will try to recover after No. 6 Penn State snapped their four-match winning streak on Wednesday in University Park. But the Badgers will not be an easier opponent. Wisconsin has risen to prominence with a 23-2 overall record and also sits atop the Big Ten standings at 14-1 in the best volleyball conference in the nation.

The Badgers’ only loss came against Penn State, which has now swept the Hawkeyes twice.

As has been the theme throughout the season, however, Iowa will not relent. The team has battled uphill all season long, and especially after beginning to see the effort rewarded with victories, Alessandra Dietz said, the team needs to keep plugging away.

“They’re a tough team, but so was Purdue, so are a lot of teams. Especially this year in the conference, you have to bring your A-game every single night,” Dietz said. “For us, it’s really going to be going off that momentum we’ve gained, executing our game plan, and coming together and believing that we can do it. Because we’ve seen some great results.”

Like Penn State, this will be the second time the Hawkeyes meet the Badgers. Coming off their first conference victory over Northwestern, the Hawks traveled to Madison Oct. 22 and were swept.

Now, they’re coming off their first loss in more than two weeks and playing at home.

Dietz led the Hawkeyes with 9 kills on a .444 attacking percentage in the first bout. Lauren Brobst, who has been killing everything in sight in the weeks since the first meeting, also had 9 kills.

The Hawkeyes are revisiting a particularly meaty part of their schedule, but after the recent victories, the team is feeling like much more of a worthy opponent for these opponents the second time around. Like Dietz, Brobst feels the upset over No. 12 Purdue in particular is a source for encouragement.

“We’re a lot more ready than we would have been if we didn’t have those wins. We’re a lot more confident,” Brobst said. “That win against Purdue really helped us prepare for these upcoming games.”

Head coach Bond Shymansky had identified November as a month in which he felt his team could succeed. He was right, as it is 3-1 since a Nov. 1 victory at Rutgers.

Coming off a sweep in Pennsylvania, however, Shymansky will need his players to recapture that momentum from the streak the program had been enjoying so much.

“It’s really up to the players to keep the feeling that they had developed and earned over the last few weeks,” Shymansky said. “They realize that anything is possible. We can play with anybody in the league.”

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


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