Indiana Daily Student

IU captures win in conference road opener

<p>Sophomore defensive specialist Bayli Lebo celebrates with her teammates after scoring a point during a long rally against Northwestern on Sept. 21 in the University Gym. Lebo leads the team in digs this season.</p>

Sophomore defensive specialist Bayli Lebo celebrates with her teammates after scoring a point during a long rally against Northwestern on Sept. 21 in the University Gym. Lebo leads the team in digs this season.

The last time IU volleyball won at Ohio State was Nov. 29, 2008.

Since that win in the final regular season game of the 2008 season, IU has won 15 Big Ten Conference road games — averaging out to less than two a year.

However, IU opened up this year’s conference road play with a 3-1 win at Ohio State.

“The staff’s getting better, and the team’s getting better,” Aird said. “We’re getting closer to what I want it to look like, but it’s a challenge.”

The win improves IU’s record to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

After a 1-19 record in conference play last season, the cliché phrase of doubling last season’s win total is there, but is something that is not near Aird’s goal.

“I’m happy for the kids because I know they want to feel like they got the monkey off their back,” Aird said. “But if the goal is to win two Big Ten matches, the bar is a little bit low. We have a chance to win every match we play. The goal is to train that way, but not the expectation.”

For Aird, it is important to keep the expectations reasonable.

“I don’t think we’re going to run the table,” Aird said. “I think we’re going to get beat up this year, there’s pain coming up. We might be an injury away from really struggling.”

A key injury for the Hoosiers in their loss against Illinois on Sunday was that of junior Kendall Beerman.

Beerman leads the team in kills this season and came up big for IU with 10 against Ohio State.

“She’s an experienced kid and a brave kid,” Aird said. “I thought she did a bunch of bonehead things in the match, but she’s not afraid to take a big swing, which I appreciate.”

Despite a second set in which Ohio State cruised to a 25-18 win, the team was held to a hitting percentage below .200 in each of the other three sets.

“Ohio State played well in game two and they served the ball really well, but we just have to weather the storm,” Aird said. “Good programs are good programs, and sometimes you catch them. If they have a bad night and you’re ready to compete, then you have an opportunity. It doesn’t mean you’re going to win, but it means you have an opportunity.”

In each of its first two conference games, IU had 13 or more service errors.

Today, the team limited the number to seven to go along with seven aces. 

“We served a little bit more aggressively at times,” Aird said. “We’ve got more issues than solutions at times. Obviously, we’re happy with the win, but it’s just a giant mistake to believe that we’ve arrived and suddenly we’re nationally relevant.”

IU’s next opponent is nationally relevant as the team returns home Saturday to face No. 6 Minnesota at University Gym.

First set is slated at 7 p.m., an hour after the end of Hoosier Hysteria. 

“I want Saturday to be the second coming of Lollapalooza,” Aird said. “If I had a helicopter I’d like to airlift people in. I want it to be a party. What I need is for people to show up because the kids are playing hard, and we want that environment to be real.”

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