Hawkeyes Battle, Fall Short at No. 4 Penn State
Sept. 22, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The University of Iowa volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision at No. 4 Penn State on Saturday night (20-25, 21-25, 29-27, 14-25). The Hawkeyes, playing in their 11th-straight match away from Iowa City, led all four sets inside Rec Hall. Entering the contest, the Nittany Lions had only dropped six sets in 12 matches.
"We gave ourselves a chance tonight and were very competitive," said head coach Sharon Dingman. "I felt like we could have won either of the first two sets and I felt like we really had a chance tonight. In the fourth set, Penn State just took it to another level. I thought everybody played well tonight."
Junior Bethany Yeager led the defense with a match-high 20 digs. She passes Jennifer Webb for sixth all-time in program history with 1,289 in her career. Classmate Nikki Dailey paced Iowa with 42 assists. Fellow juniors Chante' Thompson and Rachael Bedell each turned in 10 kills.
Iowa (8-7, 0-2) led early in the first set, 5-3. The Hawkeyes came out swinging as Alessandra Dietz, Alex Lovell, Thompson and Bedell all recorded kills during Iowa's first five points. The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions exchanged points until the score read 15-15. Penn State used a 3-0 run to grab an 18-15 advantage. The teams went back-and-forth, splitting the next six points. Leading 21-18, the Nittany Lions won four of the final six points to earn a 25-20 first set victory.
For the second time in as many games, Iowa held an early lead. Trailing 7-3, Penn State answered with a 7-3 run of its own to even up the frame at 10-10. The visitors led 20-18, before the Nittany Lions finished the set on a 7-1 run to earn a 25-21 second set victory and take a 2-0 match lead. Penn State hit .333 in the set and limited the Hawkeyes to a -.053 attack percentage.
Following the intermission, Iowa owned an early advantage for the third-straight game. Trailing 9-6, the Nittany Lions used a 7-2 run to grab a 13-11 advantage and force a Hawkeye timeout. Down 18-12, Iowa continued to battle and evened up the game at 20-20. The Hawkeyes led 23-22, before Penn State earned two match points. Iowa answered, earning three set points. The Hawkeye capitalized on the third, as a kill by Bedell gave Iowa a 29-27 set victory. The Hawkeyes hit .234 in the game while limiting the home team to a .132 attack percentage.
The Nittany Lions (12-1, 2-0) jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the fourth set after a tightly contested third frame that saw 13 tie scores and six lead changes. Penn State took control of the game and went on to win 25-14, hitting .500 in the set.
Iowa returns to action next weekend in its Big Ten home opener. The Hawkeyes host Michigan on Friday night and No. 25 Michigan State on Saturday night. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The contest against the Wolverines can be seen live on BTN.com.