Story from Hawkeyesports.com/Photos from Rob Howe, AllHawkeyes.com
IOWA CITY, Iowa – In front of the fifth largest crowd in program history, the University of Iowa volleyball team trumped the Cyclones, 3-1, for the first time since Sept. 13, 1997.
“It was a gritty, gutty win for us, especially right there at the end,” said UI head coach Bond Shymansky. “I knew our group was not going to fold up and go away at the end of that fourth set. They just did such a fantastic job.
2011-12 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, 250 wide
“I’m a Hawkeye, I’m an Iowa alum, and I’m a die-hard Hawkeye. I don’t just work here I bleed black and gold and so for us to beat the Cyclones at anything I get excited.”
The Hawkeyes used a .379 attack percentage and a season-high 66 kills to beat the Cyclones in four sets. The win marks the third-straight victory for the Hawkeyes who are now 5-3 on the season.
Sophomore Jess Janota had a career night, tallying a career-high 20 kills and posting a .514 attack percentage. Junior Lauren Brobst (17) and freshman Reagan Davey (10) also reached double digits in kills. Junior Loxley Keala dished out a season-high 55 assists, freshman Libby Koukol paced the team with a career-high 18 digs, and senior Mikaela Gunderson led the team with four blocks.
“We’re not rebuilding anymore. We’re built,” said Shymansky. “This team is built to win and it’s just going to be a question of how much we want to win, and how hard we will work to obtain what we should be this year. We are already showing that.”
After a back and forth battle to start the first set, the Cyclones used a six-point run to take the lead and ultimately win the match, 25-17. Iowa State recorded 14 kills and .333 attack percentage in the set.
The Hawkeyes came out firing in set two, posting a .424 attack percentage. With a 13-9 lead, Iowa used a five-point run to create distance and secure the 25-17 set victory. Brobst and Janota had the hot hands for the Hawkeyes – registering six kills apiece.
The offensive attack continued in set three as the Hawkeyes got out to an early 3-2 lead. They never lost it from there. Janota was on fire, swinging .750 with six kills in eight attempts. Brobst also added six kills and posted a .667 attack percentage, while Keala dished out 17 assists.
Set four was a back and forth battle until the end. With the Hawkeyes down 23-20, Shymansky called a timeout. Kills my Gunderson and junior Ashley Mariani followed to pull the Hawkeyes within one. Iowa State came back with a kill of their own, before another Mariani kill and an attack error by Iowa State tied the set, 24-24. After trading points, Janota and Brobst registered back-to-back kills to seal the set, 28-26.
“It was an awesome feeling to have so much support tonight,” said Janota. “We can definitely feel it out there on the court.”
“That’s where we get all of our energy from,” Brobst added. “We feed off of the bench and we feed off of the crowd. I’ve been waiting [to beat Iowa State] ever since I became a Hawkeye. It’s an unbelievable experience and I can’t describe it. It’s great to be a Hawkeye.”
The Hawkeyes wrap-up Comfort Suites Challenge action tomorrow with a 7 p.m. (CT) match against No. 25 Texas A&M.