Indiana volleyball took on its last weekend of home games in Wilkinson Hall, losing to Illinois in three sets on Friday night and beating Iowa in three sets on Sunday in the team’s senior night.
In its match against Iowa, Indiana honored senior players Briana Edwards, Kari Zumach and Brooke Westbeld. Head coach Steve Aird started all three seniors because he said he thought it was the right thing to do, and they did not disappoint.
“I thought that the seniors played great,” Aird said. “I think teams are led by players who are experienced, especially this year, and I think all three of them were fantastic.”
Zumach led Indiana with eight kills and Edwards had seven. In addition to the seniors, both Aird and Zumach said the whole team played hard and all contributed to the win.
“Everybody who was on the court contributed tremendously,” Zumach said. “Brooke played an amazing match and distributed the ball really well and so did Cam. Her serving was amazing. Bri did what she always does and handled the ball great.”
Indiana beat Iowa in three straight sets with scores of 25-17, 25-16 and 25-17. In its last matchup with Iowa, Indiana lost 3-1.
“I think we were more prepared mentally and physically,” Zumach said. “We didn't really know what to expect the first time just between the teams. It's always nice to play at home as well and it was that extra boost of motivation from the seniors.”
Aird said his favorite thing was the seniors were given lots of attention all week and the staff did a great job of honoring them.
“It’s been a hard 2021, no question about it,” Aird said. “These are three kids who have all stuck with it and kept working, and are running through the end line which I really respect. I'm just happy for them more than anything else. They're three great kids and I'll miss them.”
On Friday, Indiana lost its second matchup with Illinois in three sets with scores of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-11. Aird said he saw vast improvements from their last matchup Nov. 12 in games one and two, but game three really got away from them.
“For the most part we did okay in the serve and pass in games one and two,” Aird said. “Then things fell apart in serve receive in game three and offensively we couldn’t generate much action.”
Aird said Illinois setter freshman Brooke Mosher really turned it on in game three and gave credit to outside hitter sophomore Raina Terry who had 11 kills. For Indiana, Edwards led with seven kills.
Aird said Illinois is one of the better serving teams in the conference, so Indiana struggled with an inability to control the ball.
“My pet peeve is when coaches make lots of excuses,” Aird said. “I thought Illinois was just better. They served better and we didn’t pass very well. I think sometimes when a team wins, and they win convincingly like that, you’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”