Aug. 27, 2010
IOWA CITY, IA - - The University of Iowa volleyball team opened the 2010 season with a 3-1 win over Alabama in Day 1 of the Hawkeye Challenge in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Freshman Rachael Bedell paced the Iowa offense with a team-high 14 kills. Paige Stevens dished 41 assists and Bethany Yeager picked up 19 digs in her Hawkeye debut. Iowa won its season opener for the third straight year under Head Coach Sharon Dingman.
"That was a tremendous effort from our team," said Dingman. "We had one player on the floor that started a year ago, so to compete and battle the way they did was very encouraging. We knew there would be challenges, but I'm proud of the way we played and it's nice to start out with a win."
Alabama claimed the first set 25-23. The Black and Gold, trailing 13-21, rallied to push the tally to 23-24, but Alabama scored the match point to win set one. Junior Mallory Husz led the Hawkeyes with three kills and junior Stevens led the team with six assists.
Iowa stormed back to claim set two. The Hawkeyes took an early lead and never looked back. Iowa scored the final eight points of the set to win 25-14. Freshman Bedell recorded four kills and Stevens tallied five assists in the set.
The Hawkeyes continued their hot streak, winning a back-and-forth third set. After both teams exchanged scoring-runs early on, the Crimson Tide gained a 19-16 advantage. Iowa then scored the next four points to take a 20-19 lead and followed that with a 4-2 run to make the score 24-21. Alabama claimed the next four points to gain a 25-24 advantage. The Hawkeyes claimed the next two points before the two teams exchanged the next four, giving Iowa a 28-27 lead. The Hawkeyes then clinched the set on a block by senior Becky Walters and Stevens. Bedell and junior Tiffany Nilges each tallied seven kills and Stevens recorded 18 assists.
In the fourth set, Iowa trailed early 3-8, but the Hawkeyes rallied though in convincing fashion, winning the final set 25-19. Trailing 15-16, Iowa claimed 10 of the final 13 points to claim the match 3-1.
Iowa will host Southern Illinois Saturday in Day 2 of the 2010 Hawkeye Challenge. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Green Bay and Alabama will compete in the matinee contest at 4:30 p.m.