Oct. 23, 2009
IOWA CITY, IA - The University of Iowa volleyball team swept the Northwestern Wildcats, 3-0, tonight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Junior Aimee Huffman led the Hawkeyes with 14 kills, junior Mara Hilgenberg dished 28 assists, and on a night when senior Megan Schipper was honored for amassing 1,000 career kills, the team captain showed her versatility by leading Iowa with 12 digs. Iowa's win over Northwestern was its third in a row in the series.
"It's really fun to win a Big Ten match in three sets," said Head Coach Sharon Dingman. "We showed a lot of effort tonight. We said all week we need to outwork other teams to succeed in this league, and after a very strong week of practice, we were able to see the results today."
Iowa (3-6, 11-10) took command of the match from the very beginning of the opening set, storming out to a 5-0 lead behind kills from freshman Emma Krieger Kittle and Schipper and a service ace from freshman Allison Straumann. Northwestern (2-7, 11-10) eventually rallied to tie the set, 15-15, before Huffman hammered one of her set-high six kills to give Iowa the lead for good. Junior Becky Walters gave Iowa the 1-0 set advantage with a kill to end the opening set, 25-23.
The Hawkeyes were forced to rally for a 27-25 win in the second frame. Trailing 18-13, Iowa used a 7-3 run to pull within a point, 21-20, but Northwestern stayed strong and forced a set-point against Iowa. Huffman then tied the set, 25-25, with a kill, her fifth of the set, and the Hawkeyes used two Wildcat errors to prevail 27-25. Hilgenberg added nine kills and Schipper picked up six digs as Iowa took the 2-0 match lead.
Iowa wrapped up the match sweep with a 25-21 victory in set three. Krieger Kittle paced the offense with four kills, Hilgenberg added 10 assists and senior Christina Meister picked up five digs in the decisive set. Leading 6-5, the Hawkeyes opened up the set with a 9-3 run behind two kills each from Walters and Krieger Kittle to take a commanding 15-8 advantage. Northwestern would later rally to tie the set, 19-19, but two kills from Schipper, including the match-winner, sparked a 6-2 Hawkeye run to send Iowa to the 3-0 match victory.
The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday Night at 7 p.m. when they host 8th-ranked Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to help raise breast cancer awareness.