Oct. 26, 2010
By RICHIE ZAWISTOWSKI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The wins might not be coming to fruition for the University of Iowa volleyball team, but steps are being taken in the right places. Iowa lost to No.6 Illinois on Saturday evening in three sets, but the Hawkeyes were close in every set, falling 25-23, 26-24, and 25-18.
This is the second consecutive match that the Hawkeyes have battled their opponents, yet ultimately falling short.
"We had chances to win both the first and second set, just like we did (Friday against Wisconsin)," said UI head coach Sharon Dingman. "The good thing is the only way you learn how to win close ones is to put yourself in the position to do that. So we're putting our self in position, and then can't finish it. Part of the difference is we're playing a team who played in the Final 8 a year ago, and we're still trying to find our way. I liked some of the things I saw (against Illinois) and I think we can have a breakout second half of the Big Ten coming up."
This is good news for the young Hawkeyes that have just one senior on the roster. As expected, there will be bumps in the road for the young team, and the Hawkeyes have to figure out how to find a way to win close sets.
"We're putting ourselves in position to win, and you have to do that," said Dingman. "But I hope we can take away what we can do well, and when we're focused on the right things. But it's that fortitude that we're missing right now, that mental toughness. We're trying to figure out how to get them there."
Iowa has dropped its past seven matches, but has made the majority of them close, including Friday evening against Wisconsin when Iowa fell, 3-2.
"We've been there with Wisconsin, we've been there with Michigan State," said Dingman. "It's just a matter of now figuring out how to win them. (Saturday night), first set we had a chance and we row-shotted, and they got a kill and the set was over. So we've got to have a bit more courage, a bit more fortitude about us."
The bumps in the road are obvious, but with a young team gaining valuable experience and determination during close matches, there is a chance the road might become a bit smoother with any progress the Hawkeyes are making.
"I think that if you put us in the same position we were in (Saturday), it will come out different next time," said Megan Eskew. "Progressive, progressive."