Volleyball Hawks snag two weekend wins

Iowa volleyball swept Northern Illinois twice, but had trouble with Iowa State.


The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Sm

Iowa outside hitter Claire Sheehan spikes the ball during the match between Iowa and Northern Illinois inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Huskies 3-0. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

The Iowa volleyball team went 2-1 this past weekend, sweeping Northern Illinois but falling to No. 22 Iowa State.

The Hawkeyes opened the weekend with a three-set sweep against the Huskies.

The match was highlighted by freshman outside hitter Claire Sheehan and senior middle blocker Kelsey O’Neill, who each had 7 kills — a personal best for Sheehan.

The balanced attack is just what head coach Bond Shymansky desired.

“The best part is getting contribution from everybody,” he said. “It’s really a good sign for us as a program when we can have people coming in, and contributing, and actually making a positive impact.”

As a first-year Hawkeye, Sheehan said it felt good, but it is also nerve-racking to come off the bench and contribute in such a big way.

Later that day, Sheehan got another chance to contribute in a match with higher stakes.

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Carver-Hawkeye held its second-largest crowd in the volleyball program’s history for the face-off between the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones.

Iowa dropped the first set to Iowa State 25-19 but bounced back in the second, winning 25-23 and tying the match.

Junior outside hitter Taylor Louis led Iowa with 5 kills in the first set.

Sheehan had another big set, leading the Hawkeyes with 5 kills in the second.

The next two sets were tighter. Combined, they featured 17 ties and three lead changes.

The third set started off with ties coming on almost every point.

Iowa had a 3-point lead before Iowa State made a comeback, tying up the set at 23. Iowa then took the advantage, going up 24-23, before losing 26-24.

The next set was just as close.

Iowa had five set points in the fourth set, and Iowa State battled every time. The Cyclones took their first advantage with the score 29-28, and sealed the match win.

“I thought it was a hard-fought battle,” senior middle blocker Jess Janota said. “There was obviously a lot of things that we have to work on, and we didn’t come out as hard as we should have.”

Louis led the Hawkeyes with 16 kills in the match. Sheehan followed with 13, and Janota had 10.

“I think they just did a better job of executing their scouting report and paying attention to the little details of it,” Louis said.

Senior libero Annika Olsen led the Hawkeye defense with 18 digs, which proved to be important against a tough Cyclone offense.

“As Hawkeyes, and me as an Iowa alum, that match means a lot to us,” Shymansky said. “We are really disappointed that we lost it. We are pledging to our Hawkeye fans, we had such a great crowd, but we are pledging to those fans that we are going to do it better. We are going to work hard. We are going to win, and we are going to make them proud. I think they are going to be really pleased with the growth of our group this season.”

Iowa finished off the weekend strong, with another three-set sweep of Northern Illinois.

Sophomore outside hitter Cali Hoye had a career-high 13 kills and 2 blocks for Iowa.

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