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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

IU falters in 5th set for 2nd time


The fifth set has been an Achilles’ heel for the IU volleyball team.

Twice this weekend, the Hoosiers (14-12, 3-9) staged rallies to force decisive frames but fell short of victories against No. 6 Illinois (18-3, 10-2) and Northwestern (13-11, 4-8).

IU is now 3-5 in five-set matches this season and 1-4 in the Big Ten.

“We, as a team, are still just not finding those ways to win,” IU coach Sherry Dunbar said. “We’re finding ways to stay in matches and to battle, but it’s one serve, it’s one pass, it’s one swing at the end of that that could end the match. It’s tough to stomach.”

The first five-setter of the weekend was a near-upset of the No. 6 team in the nation Friday.

After dropping the first two sets by scores of 18-25 and 17-25, the Hoosiers returned in the third frame with renewed vigor, jumping to an early 7-1 lead en route to a 25-13 victory.

Despite an early 12-8 IU lead in the fourth set, Illinois rallied to tie the contest at 14-14. The teams exchanged points until IU freshman outside hitter Jordan Haverly put the ball away on a line shot to win 28-26 and force a fifth frame.

However, the Hoosiers couldn’t continue their momentum into the final set, committing errors and lining up illegally to fall into a 5-1 hole. Illinois held on to win 15-11 and sealed the match.

“If we would have pulled that off, that would have been so big for us,” said sophomore libero Caitlin Cox, who had 17 digs and a kill. “It was a game that we should have won. That fifth set, we shouldn’t have come out so sluggish.”

It was the same story Saturday against Northwestern, a team against which IU already lost in five sets Oct. 11 in Evanston.

The Hoosiers won the first set but dropped the next two. An IU victory in the fourth frame forced another decisive contest, though this one went far beyond the 15-point mark.

IU had seven match-point opportunities before a call that the Hoosiers deemed questionable gave match point to Northwestern. The Wildcats then finished the match, the final score being 24-22.

IU plays host to Purdue at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Hoosiers’ lone five-set victory in Big Ten play came against the Boilermakers. Dunbar said to expect more of the same.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Dunbar said. “We’re just really hoping that the kids come and that they’re ready to battle.”

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