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Wednesday, Nov. 29
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Volleyball back in NCAA Tournament contention

IU knocks off Iowa, upsets No. 13 Minnesota to even Big Ten record

Just when it seemed making the NCAA Tournament was an afterthought, the Hoosiers strung together a weekend sweep of Iowa and No. 13 Minnesota to put themselves back into postseason contention.

With the wins this weekend, IU has now won four in a row and five out of six to even their Big Ten record at 6-6. To make the NCAA Tournament, the Hoosiers need to finish at least 10-10 in conference play.

The weekend began with a furious comeback on Halloween against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The Hoosiers trailed 2-0 before rallying to win the final three sets. Things appeared especially gloomy in the fifth set, when IU was down 14-11 and facing match point before ripping off five straight points of their own to win it. IU sophomore outside hitter Taylor Wittmer said she thought it was an exciting game that the Hoosiers managed to pull out.

“(The game) was so emotional, because we were down in the fifth set,” Wittmer said. “They had game points so many times, and us crawling back was just awesome.”

Saturday night, the Hoosiers managed to win another five-set thriller over the No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers. The script was a repeat of Friday night, as the Hoosiers trailed 20-15 in the fourth set before rallying for a 25-22 win to even the match at two sets apiece. The fifth set had less drama than Friday, as IU pulled ahead 5-4 and never looked back in a 15-9 win.

IU coach Sherry Dunbar said she thought the Hoosiers played with poise for the entire match.

“We are playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Dunbar said. “We were calm and relaxed but aggressive and having fun.”

IU freshman defensive specialist Caitlin Cox said things got better for the Hoosiers as the match went on after bad luck at the beginning.

“This was such an exciting match,” Cox said. “Things weren’t going our way at first, but then everything clicked and we started crushing balls and we took off.”

Statistically, IU was aggressive on defense all weekend as they managed to out-dig Iowa 76-63 and Minnesota 70-54. On offense, IU was equally impressive, as they out-killed the Hawkeyes 66-59 and the Gophers 71-61.

IU returns to action Wednesday when they travel to University Park, Pa., for a date with undefeated and defending national champion Penn State Nittany Lions at 7 p.m. Those wishing to watch the match can catch all the action on the Big Ten Network.

Dunbar said she thinks IU needs to continue to improve as a team and not get too hyped up over the wins this weekend.

“We just have to chip away and remember how we are getting here,” Dunbar said. “If we can stay focused and not get too much into winning all these matches and take it one day at a time, we will continue to get better as a team.”

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