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IU splits two games at Penn State Invitational



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Then-sophomore Middle Blocker Deyshia Lofton earns a kill against a Michigan defender on Nov. 24, 2017. Lofton leads IU in blocks in the 2018 season.  Steven Lin Buy Photos

IU Volleyball faced a series of firsts in the Penn State Invitational. 

On Friday the team faced Texas A&M and took its first loss of the season, falling 3-0.

"They’re ahead of where we are right now," IU Coach Steve Aird said. "Whether we win or lose right now to me is irrelevant. It’s about can we keep getting better, and we looked like a much better team than last week."

Despite the struggles against the Aggies, junior outside hitter Kendall Beerman was able to pick up 12 kills and 13 digs en route to her third double-double of the season.

Freshman Abigail Westenhofer continued her success as well, leading the team with 19 assists. That marked the third time this season where she has had 15 or more assists in a match.

"The young kids are maturing, and the returning kids are trying to understand that it’s just about playing the game the right way," Aird said. "The more you play the game the right way, the more opportunities you have to win. "

The team continued the theme of firsts by bouncing back from a loss for the first time this season after picking up a win against Temple on Saturday — the team’s first five set match of the season.

"You’ve got to be mature," Aird said. "You have to understand that every match is a new opportunity and make something of it." 

The Hoosiers, now 4-1, came out strong winning the first set 25-21, but proceeded to drop the next two sets.

However, IU was able to find a second gear and come back which was highlighted by a 15-9 fifth-set win.

"You’ve got to learn to compete before you win," Aird said. "I don’t think we have an ultra-competitive group. I don’t think we have a group that’s used to winning. They’re learning how to compete and how to win, so when you do fight through and find a way to win, it can be a valuable thing. 

Beerman and Westenhofer both added to their numbers. Beerman had 16 kills along with 13 digs while Westenhofer had 27 assists. 

Junior Deyshia Lofton continued her presence on the defensive side by leading the Hoosiers in blocks in both games.

The end of the Penn State Invitational marks the halfway point of IU’s nonconference schedule. 

IU will play two more road invitationals — in Muncie and Cincinnati — before returning home to face Northwestern on Sept. 21. 

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