Hawkeyes lose momentum


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Wisconsin defeated the Iowa women’s volleyball team in straight sets on Nov. 15, but it seems as though the Hawkeyes lost more than the game.

What seemed to have disappeared for Iowa was momentum. While the team battled hard in the first set, losing a close 25-21 game, the second and third sets did not see the same kind of fight.

“I liked the continuation of what we did in the third set at Penn State even though we lost, and we brought that into the first set tonight against Wisconsin,” head coach Bond Shymansky said. “We had that same thing going in the first set, where it looks right, it looks good for what we do, what we can do.

“We were true to ourselves, and I’m pleased with that, but you have to have that for at least three sets in a match.”

The Nittany Lions had ended Iowa’s four-game winning streak Nov. 12, but the Hawkeyes had finished on a strong note, pulling within 4 points in the last set.

With a busy schedule ahead, there is not much time for the Hawkeyes to find the momentum they had coming off of that four-game winning streak. With two away games coming up in the next week, the Hawkeyes only have two days available to practice.

“The challenge is that we practice Monday, leave Tuesday, play Wednesday, come home late Wednesday night, practice Thursday, leave Friday, play Saturday,” Shymansky said. “We really have two practice days to prepare for two matches this week — that’s not a lot of prep time.”

Alessandra Dietz and Taylin Alm noted passing as a major area of concern. Dietz said the team’s first contact needs work for the upcoming games.

Bad passes were a sizable problem against the Badgers. The Hawkeyes were forced to go out of system many times throughout the game, not allowing the hitters to be set up and causing players to run into each other in order to get to the ball.

Being physically present has not been the only problem for the Hawkeyes over the past two games, though. Mentality has also played a large role in the loss of momentum for Iowa.

Dietz, a senior, noted the importance of every player showing up with her head in the right place.

“At this point in the season, it’s almost more of a mental thing than a physical thing. I think that when you’re playing a top team, everyone needs to be there mentally, physically, and emotionally,” she said.

Shymansky also noted mentality, rather than physicality, as an important factor for competing in upcoming matches.

“It’s not what we do physically this time of the year that matters,” he said. “It’s what we do mentally and emotionally — and where is our preparation that way, how are we building each other up as teammates, how can we help them do that as a coaching staff?”

Alm has become instrumental in the team’s success throughout the season, and she led Iowa in kills against the Badgers.

In order to gain back the momentum Iowa lost, Alm believes the team needs to find the attitude that made it successful once again.

“We just need to go into the next games thinking, ‘We can win this,’ because we’re going to be the underdog for every match now,” she said. “We just need to go into the next games knowing that we can win. We need to have that mentality.”

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

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