Sharks, giraffes and construction workers filled the stands Wednesday as University Gym celebrated Halloween in full force.
The theme for the volleyball game was “R.I.P. U Gym Night” as IU played one of its final matches at University Gym and got a 3-1 win against No. 14 Michigan.
The energy in the stadium was something the team noticed.
“It’s great to have a support system like that,” junior middle blocker Deyshia Lofton said. “We appreciate them coming out to every game and giving us the support that we need.”
Fans echoed “U” each time the ball would hit the rafters of the 55-year-old gym because of the problems the low ceiling has created throughout the years.
The student section also featured a coffin with a sign on it that read “REST IN PIECES U GYM,” and there was an announcement before the game thanking U Gym for its service.
“I will be absolutely thrilled when we make the move to the new real estate,” IU Coach Steve Aird said. “This is base camp. We’re trying our best to build things so when we move over, it becomes real.”
The match itself featured a quick start by IU as it took both the first and second sets with a score of 25-19.
The Wolverines delivered a bit of a scare to the Hoosiers as they took the second set 25-22, but IU came out strong in the fourth to take the match.
“They’re growing up, and I thought in game three we were a bad JV high school team,” Aird said. “We got a lot harder to play against in game four.”
The win is IU’s first against a ranked opponent in its sixth opportunity. The team lost in five sets at then-No. 16 Michigan on Oct. 6.
“You don’t take over a program like this if you want things easy,” Aird said. “As opposed to backing down from it, I want to train right through it as hard as we can.”
In the first match with Michigan, freshman Breana Edwards had 22 kills. Since that match, she only had double-digit digs in one match.
She turned that around Wednesday by picking up 16 kills.
“She just played hard,” Aird said. “To be relevant, we’ve got miles to go, but they take some big hacks at times. They’re learning that if they’re going to go down, why not take a big rip at it.”
Sophomore Kamryn Malloy and Bayli Lebo picked up 18 and 19 digs, respectively.
The 18 digs for Malloy were a career high while Lebo picked up her 15th match of the season with 15 or more digs.
“When there was a hole in the block or they got a few touches, we were able to dig around it,” Malloy said.
Aird said the team cannot dwell on this win and must move forward quickly as it faces No. 13 Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Saturday.
“I’m going to go home, have a beer, maybe steal a Snickers bar, then get up tomorrow morning and work,” Aird said.
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