The Iowa Hawkeye volleyball team was looking to change momentum in their Big Ten home opener last night against Michigan.
Having lost three straight, including the first two games of conference play, the Hawks (8-7) had an uphill battle taking on the Michigan Wolverines (13-3), who were playing tonight’s game with a chip on their shoulders coming off a tough loss to the # 17 Purdue Boilermakers, and had lost two of their last four matches.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, homecoming weekend has begun on a sour note.
The Hawks opened up the first set trailing early, falling behind 5 to 10, but the Hawks would score 3 straight to bring the set within 2. The last of these 3 was the longest rally of the night, culminating with a kill delivered by Iowa’s middle blocker Alessandra Dietz.
This was the closest the Hawks would get, however, as they surrendered the first set 14-25. Bethany Yeager finished the set with 9 digs, and Alex Lovell had 3 kills on 17 total attempts.
Iowa’s second set began much more promising. Iowa battled back and forth with the Wolverines, and halfway through the set, both teams were in a 13-13 tie. The Hawks would not take a lead however. Iowa chased the Wolverines throughout the end of the set falling as far behind as 6 volleys.
A bad set delivered by Michigan’s Lexi Dannemiller looked to give Iowa new life, pulling the Hawks within 4, 19-23, but they would still fall to Michigan 21 to 25. Erin Radke led the way with 4 kills on 11 total attempts, and Allison Straumann dug up 5.
The third set started with a back and forth battle, but turned into a Michigan rally that led to a 5-13 Michigan lead. Iowa would string together a 3 point rally, led behind Alex Lovell getting a momentum changing kill. Iowa would trail 10-18, until a 6 point rally brought the match within 2.
A 2 point difference was all the closer the Hawks would get, as Iowa lost the third set 20-25, and the match 0-3. Michigan was led by Lexi Erwin, who scored 14 points, the game high. Iowa looked to Erin Radke to keep the game close. Radke had 9 kills and 12 points. Nikki Dailey contributed quite an effort, recording 23 assists, 10 digs, and 2 kills.
Iowa falls to 8-8, and 0-3 in conference play. Michigan moves to 14-3, and is now once again above .500 in the Big Ten. The Hawks will look to turn it around tonight from Carver Hawkeye Arena as the Michigan State Spartan’s come to town. Iowa will be after their first conference win, as #24 Michigan State looks to avenge their loss to the Cornhuskers that put them below .500 in the Big Ten Conference.