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Friday, April 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Hoosiers finish even at 17-17, end season with 2 Big Ten wins

Volleyball

The IU volleyball team wanted to end its season on a high note.

A weekend sweep, not to mention broken school records, accomplished that feat.

The Hoosiers (17-17, 6-14) enter the offseason with a new single-season digs record-holder and career-hitting efficiency leader after beating Wisconsin in five sets Friday and sweeping Iowa on Saturday.

“When those postseason hopes are gone, a lot of those teams just kind of tank,” IU coach Sherry Dunbar said. “I think that’s when you can really show your true character. We’ve played some really good volleyball with some of the best teams in the nation.”

The new records belong to sophomore libero Caitlin Cox, whose 488 digs set the new single-season mark at IU, and junior middle blocker Ashley Benson, whose career hitting efficiency of .361 is best all-time.

“I kind of had an idea that I was close,” Cox said of the digs record. “But I wasn’t sure if I would make it this season or not. So now this gives me something to shoot for next year, to break my record this year.”

The Hoosiers opened their final weekend in Madison, where they took revenge for a loss on Oct. 18 to the Badgers (11-18, 6-14) by winning a five-set affair by scores of 22-25, 25-21, 25-15, 23-25 and 15-12.

Facing yet another decisive frame, IU wanted to prove it had made a turn for the better.
Down 12-10, the Hoosiers won five consecutive points and continued to exercise their five-set demons.

IU carried the momentum from the victory into its Saturday match in Iowa City, sweeping the Hawkeyes (13-20, 5-15) for the second time this season, winning 25-19, 25-13 and 25-20.

Iowa led 4-3 in the opening set. They never had a lead again as Cox eclipsed the record of 481 single-season digs by Juli Pierce and the Hoosiers cruised to a .500 finish.

Freshman outside hitter Jordan Haverly, who led all Hoosiers with 41 total kills on the weekend, said these two games this weekend and her entire freshman season were enjoyable.

“I’ve had a great experience so far,” she said. “It’s just a great way to start my career.”

Despite missing out on the NCAA tournament this year, the team is excited for the future.

“Hopefully we can turn a lot of these five-set losses that we had this year into some wins next year,” Dunbar said. “I think this team gets along really well, and I think they’re really motivated to keep this program moving forward.”

Cox agreed about the direction of the team.

“It kind of stinks because tonight, we just kind of realized it was over,” Cox said. “There’s a future now. These past three weekends are what IU volleyball is all about, and I think everyone who is returning understands that.”

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