Aug. 28, 2010
By ADAM MEIER
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It may not have been easy and it may not have been pretty, but University of Iowa head volleyball coach Sharon Dingman was satisfied with her team's effort Friday, to say the least.
"It wasn't always the prettiest volleyball by any means, but I loved our fight," Dingman said following Iowa's 3-1 season-opening win against Alabama.
That "fight" is what propelled the new-look Hawkeyes to victory at the Hawkeye Challenge inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
After losing the first set, the Hawkeyes stormed back to win three consecutive sets and sent the Tide reeling back to its hotel.
Along with the mainstays of senior Becky Walters and junior Mallory Husz, there were some fresh faces who made their presence felt early. Freshmen Bethany Yeager and Rachael Bedell played -- but not like freshmen. Yeager and Bedell, both hailing from the state of Texas, played crucial roles in the Hawkeye win. Yeager, who started the game at libero, played with tremendous effort and intensity not normally exhibited by a freshman.
"Bethany was money, but I expected that out of Beth," Dingman said with a smirk. "She's going to be a great libero" Dingman said.
Bedell excelled as well; leading the team with 14 kills.
"She took some big, big swings," Dingman added.
Yeager may not have played like a freshman, but she won't sugarcoat how she was feeling on the court.
"I was definitely nervous -- first game, freshman year -- but it was awesome," she said. When asked what she felt about the Division I volleyball experience Yeager replied, "I love it. I'm addicted now."
The turning point in almost every volleyball match is the tie-breaking third set; and that proved to be true Friday as the Hawkeyes kept grinding to win, 29-27, and seize the momentum.
The demeanor of the 2010 Hawkeye volleyball squad can be summed up in a few words spoken by Yeager: "We're here. We're ready to fight."
The Hawkeye's next game is Saturday, Aug. 28, against Southern Illinois at 7 p.m.