Indiana Daily Student

IU records 2nd win of season against Iowa after splitting matches 1-1

<p>Freshman outside hitter Tommi Stockham spikes the ball Jan. 22 in Wilkinson Hall. The Hoosiers beat Iowa 3-2 on Saturday at Xtream Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. </p>

Freshman outside hitter Tommi Stockham spikes the ball Jan. 22 in Wilkinson Hall. The Hoosiers beat Iowa 3-2 on Saturday at Xtream Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

IU volleyball recorded its second win of the season Saturday against Iowa. After falling 3-1 the night before, the Hoosiers came back to win 3-2 .

IU began Friday night winning the first set 25-20 but failed to win another set, losing 25-15, 26-24 and 25-17.

Iowa hit .227 on the night, compared to IU’s .115. Junior outside hitter Breana Edwards led both teams in kills on the night with 15. 

IU played strongly in the first set, with crucial blocks forcing Iowa timeouts. Senior setter Brooke Westbeld and freshman middle blocker Savannah Kjolhede combined for a block to win 25-20.

The Hoosiers also had 31 attack errors and only put up nine blocks, showing the young team’s inexperience with eight freshmen on their roster.

“At times we look pretty good and at times we fall apart,” head coach Steve Aird said. “I think it’s a matter of skill development and improving our consistency.”

Related: [IU volleyball splits weekend matches with Rutgers, earns first win of season]

IU kept the score close in Saturday’s first set, but lost 30-28 after struggling with unforced errors.

While some teams may rely on coaches for their pep talks between sets, that’s not the case for the Hoosiers, Aird said. He didn’t think his coaching is what truly got the team going on Saturday.

“I knew it was in them,” Aird said. “We had good leadership by both setters. Full credit to the team. ”

Tied 13-13 in the second set, IU went on a 9-0 scoring run to lead 22-13. Sophomore Emily Fitzner showed her versatility by posting one kill in the set and a total of six block assists on the night. A kill from Edwards sealed the set at 25-14.

The Hoosiers looked increasingly confident as the match continued, and they won the third set 25-18 with a block by Edwards and Kjolhede.

The fourth set saw an Iowa comeback at 25-23, with the Hawkeyes scoring 6 of the last 7 points for the win. Blocks were prevalent on IU’s side, putting IU in the lead late in the set two times. 

The Hoosiers trailed 7-5 at one point in the fifth set, tying with a solo block by freshman outside hitter Tommi Stockham. Another block by Kjolhede and Fitzner gave IU a 13-12 lead, and an Edwards kill won the set 15-13, winning the match.

Stockham was crucial in the win, recording 26 blocks — the most in one night by any Hoosier this season.

Blocking was a vital part of the Hoosiers’ game, and one of the reasons they were able to come away with a win. They recorded a total of 22 blocks, which is tied for second best in a Big Ten match in program history.

The sources of most of the blocks also shows the physicality of the players Aird has recruited. Freshman middle blocker Leyla Blackwell led the team with 13 total blocks, and Kjolhede put up eight.

“We had a great night blocking,” Aird said. “It’s important to me that we develop into a good blocking team.”

IU returns home to play No. 1 Wisconsin on Feb. 12-13.

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