Volleyball drops a heartbreaker to unranked opponent


David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Iowa Hawkeye Volleyball player Jess Janota spikes the ball during a match against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, Oct. 19, 2017. The Illini defeated the Hawkeyes three sets to two. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

The Iowa volleyball team lost to Illinois in five close sets on the evening of Oct. 20.

The match featured 39 ties and 18 lead changes.

After dropping the first set, 25-23, the Hawkeyes bounced back. They recorded a .324 attack percentage with help from senior middle blocker Jess Janota and freshman outside hitter Claire Sheehan, who had a combined 12 kills in the second set.

The Iowa momentum didn’t carry into the third set, however. After falling behind 10-6, the Hawkeyes couldn’t get the intensity going for a comeback. The Illini strung together runs and went up by as many as 9 points before sealing the set, 25-19.

The Hawkeyes regained their intensity and led the majority of the fourth set. However, Illinois came back and tied the set at 22 before taking the lead. A challenge by Iowa head coach Bond Shymansky changed an Illinois match point to an Iowa set point, leading to a Hawkeye victory, 25-23.

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The short fifth set featured 10 ties and five lead changes. On an Iowa match point, 14-11, Illinois came back with 5-straight points for the match win.

Junior outside hitter Taylor Louis led the Hawkeye offense with 18 kills, and Janota and Sheehan each had 16. Freshman setter Brie Orr has 52 assists to aid the hitters.

“I thought our team did a great job of staying intense, and coming back, and putting ourselves in a great position in that match, really regaining momentum,” Shymansky said. “Just had a premium opportunity there to finish off, and obviously, they’re really disappointed. We’re really disappointed for them. We have to learn how to finish.”

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