Illinois Tops Iowa on Senior Night
Nov. 24, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision to Illinois on Saturday night (24-26, 18-25, 21-25) in its final match of the season. The Illini used a .305 attack percentage and owned a 56-37 advantage in kills to earn the 3-0 victory on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes honored senior Allison Straumann and five Illinois seniors following the match. Straumann, playing in her 71st career contest, recorded five digs to go along with a block and a kill.
"It has been amazing," said Straumann about her time at Iowa. "It has happened so fast. I am really proud to be a part of this team and such a great group of girls. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity and be a Hawkeye."
"Alli has been a tremendous senior leader for this team," said head coach Sharon Dingman. "It is so hard to be the only senior. She has persevered throughout her career. She has been an absolute joy to coach for four years. I am really going to miss her in the gym every day. She is everything you want a senior to be."
Alex Lovell paced the Hawkeye offense with 16 kills. The sophomore finishes the year with a team-high 382 kills, the most in a single season since Catherine Smale posted 441 in 2005. Fellow sophomore Alessandra Dietz added eight kills and junior Rachael Bedell turned in six.
"Both teams competed hard," said Dingman. "Alli Straumann had a great match for us tonight. Alex (Lovell) and Alessandra (Dietz) really played well."
Nikki Dailey led Iowa with 30 assists. The junior registered 1,103 assists this year, leading the Hawkeyes for the second-straight season. She ranks sixth all-time in program history with 2,561 assists. Dailey added 10 digs, posting her team-best 18th double-double of the season.
Bethany Yeager notched a team-high 14 digs. The junior totaled a career-best 533 digs this season and ranks fifth all-time in program history (1,522). Yeager has led the Hawkeyes in digs in each of her first three seasons. The 533 digs are the most in a season since 2006, when Emily Hiza registered 545. Freshman Julianne Blomberg added a career-high 10 digs.
The league foes went back-and-forth in a wild opening set that saw nine ties and four lead changes. The Fighting Illini opened an 8-5 advantage before Iowa responded with a 5-2 run to even the frame at 10-10. The teams exchanged points en route to a 23-23 score. An Illinois error gave the Hawkeyes set point, 24-23. The visitors rallied, scoring the next three points via two kills and an Iowa attack error to win the opening set, 26-24. The Fighting Illini hit .293 in the first set, tallying 19 kills. The Hawkeyes notched 14 kills, posting a .278 hitting percentage. Lovell paced Iowa with six kills and Dietz added four. Dailey turned in 12 assists and Blomberg led the home team with five digs.
"We came out with great energy," said Straumann. "We had a great crowd tonight and we did a lot of really good things."
Illinois used a .342 hitting percentage and 17 kills to win the second set, 25-18, and take a 2-0 match lead. The Hawkeyes registered a .091 attack percentage and 11 kills. For the second time in as many sets, Lovell led Iowa in kills, recording four. Dailey and Yeager paced the Hawkeyes with six digs each.
Following the intermission, the visitors owned an 18-10 lead before an 8-1 Iowa run forced an Illinois timeout and cut the score to one at 19-18. The Fighting Illini claimed six of the final nine points to win the frame, 25-21, and the match. Illinois hit .286 with 20 kills, while Iowa hit .265 with 12 kills. Lovell led the Hawkeyes for the third time, posting six kills. Yeager added six digs.
The Fighting Illini close the season at 14-16 overall and 8-12 in Big Ten play; the Hawkeyes fall to 10-23 and 2-18 in league action.