The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

V-ball’s Big Ten struggles continue

Iowa outside hitter Ashley Mariani prepares to serve the ball at the Iowa vs. Michigan match inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. Michigan beat Iowa, 3-2. (The Daily Iowan/Courtney Hawkins)

The woes continued for the Iowa volleyball team, which suffered a pair of losses to Illinois, 3-0, on Oct. 16 and Northwestern, 3-1, on Sunday.
Iowa has now dropped eight matches in a row since the beginning of Big Ten play and have now fallen below .500 on the season, 10-11 overall, 0-8 in the conference.

The weekend was going to be a test for the Hawkeyes; the Hawks have struggled on the road, and that likely played a role in their performance. The box score shows that Iowa, which has been competitive in the Big Ten despite the losses, came out flat in the first set and was never able to recover.

The team hit only .185 in dropping the first set 25-16, and didn’t have much more to offer in the second. The team hitting percentage fell to .140 in another 25-16 loss.

After falling behind, 5-1, in the third set, the Hawkeyes finally had the juice to make a run and take a 7-5 lead, indicating that they weren’t going to simply roll over. The Illini had by far their sloppiest set of the match, hitting only .188.

Nonetheless, Illinois used a 6-point swing to retake the lead and control the set until the Hawkeyes tied it again at 21. With the end in sight — Iowa, as it has done many times this season — couldn’t finish the job. The team battled but dropped the set, 26-24.

Mikaela Gunderson led the way with 8 kills on a .500 attack percentage, but all of Iowa’s big swingers — Jess Janota, Lauren Brobst, and Reagan Davey — were held below .200.

Iowa’s continued to struggle on Sunday, as the team posted a collective .000 attack percentage in an opening set loss to Northwestern, 25-16.

The Hawkeyes did, however, steal the second set, 25-22.

Trailing 22-21, coach Bond Shymansky called a time-out, after which the Hawkeyes responded as he would like them to far more often. Brobst and Gunderson fueled a 4-point run to take the set. Iowa posted a weekend-high .306 in the set.

The fun was over, however, as the Wildcats responded with a 25-11 dismantling in the third set, which saw Iowa fall back down to a .029 mark. The Cats then jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the fourth and fought off several attempts by the Hawkeyes to tie the score. Northwestern won the set and the match, 25-20.

Davey led with 11 kills but on just a .188 mark. The team collectively hit .135.

Iowa has struggled with blocks all season long, and that continued this past weekend. After losing the block battle 7-5 against Illinois, they were doubled up, 14-7, by the Wildcats.

The Hawkeyes will try to rally at home against Wisconsin at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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