Hawkeye volleyball struggles against Illini

The Illini proved why they are one of the best in the country, soundly sweeping the Hawkeyes.


David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Iowa Hawkeye Volleyball player Molly Kelly dives for the ball during a match against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, Oct. 19, 2017. The Illini defeated the Hawkeyes, 3-2. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

Iowa volleyball played its first Big Ten road match at No. 7 Illinois on Sept. 28, and it didn’t go well, ending with a quick Illini sweep of the Hawkeyes.

What Iowa brought into the match in momentum from last weekend’s win against Michigan State was largely lost to Illinois’ strength.

Iowa’s offensive leaders were pretty quiet in the match. Cali Hoye and Taylor Louis each posted fewer than 10 kills, a rare occurrence for them – even in a three-set match.

That led to the Illini outpacing the Hawkeyes in kills, 51-27. The wide difference was the result of Illini’s aggressiveness at the net and their great defense. Illinois posted double the number of Iowa blocks and 8 more digs than the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes contested the Illini fairly closely in the first set, but the methodical play of the Illini wore the Hawkeyes down.

“We did not do well on our blocking defense to slow them down,” head coach Bond Shymansky said in a release. ”The challenge in volleyball is getting momentum, and we never got momentum.”

Illinois continues its undefeated season and solidifies itself as the No. 1 team in RPI.

There were a few bright spots for Iowa. The Hawks posted only 1 service error, which looks solid when compared with Illinois’ 12.

If the Hawkeyes can stay clean on offense but also play more effectively and aggressively, they can compete with the best in the league.

Iowa will continue the weekend road trip in Evanston to take on Northwestern Sept. 30.

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