IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa volleyball recorded a 3-1 win over in-state foe Drake (1-7) in its 2013 home opener on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday afternoon. The Hawkeyes move to 6-1 overall and are 1-0 in the Hawkeye Challenge after the victory.
“I’m pleased and really excited about the win,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “It feels good. We’re 6-1 and we probably haven’t been that in a while. We really persevered through a feisty Drake match. I give that team a lot of credit. They play really hard.”
Iowa opened the match with a dominating 25-12 set one win. The Hawkeyes began with a four-point run, keyed by an Alessandra Dietz kill, a Grace Burns ace and an Alex Lovell kill, for the early advantage. The squad controlled the remainder of the set, never surrendering its lead to the Bulldogs. Lovell notched five kills to pace the Hawkeyes, while Dietz added four hitting an impressive .800.
The Bulldogs came back fighting, battling it out for set two. After hitting -.037 in set one, Drake used a .283 hitting percentage to secure a 26-24 set win and even the match at one apiece heading into the break.
In set three, the Hawkeyes used kills from Dietz and Erin Leppek to establish an early lead. Iowa remained in control until a four-point Drake run pushed the Bulldogs ahead, 13-12. After falling behind by three, Iowa outscored Drake 11-1 to secure set three, 25-18. A trio of kills from Rachael Bedell, a pair of kills from Lauren Brobst and two aces from Lovell provided the comeback surge.
After four ties and two lead changes early in set four, the Hawkeyes used a 4-0 run to pull ahead. Three kills from Leppek combined with two kills each from Dietz, Lovell, Brobst and Bedell solidified the set for Iowa, 25-13, and the match, 3-1.
Bedell led the way for the Hawkeyes with 18 kills: three in set one, three in set two, seven in the third set and five in the fourth.
“I love the way Rachael Bedell killed the ball,” said Dingman. “She was on fire. The setters did a good job getting the ball to her at good times and good spaces. That really allowed her to take some good swings.”
Also reaching double figures in kills were Lovell and Dietz tallying 17 and 15, respectively. Nikki Dailey led the team in assists with 27, followed closely by fellow setter Alyssa Klostermann. Bethany Yeager posted a team-high 24 digs, followed by Lovell and Klostermann, who notched 15 each. Burns also reached double figures with 12 digs. Leppek had a team-most six blocks, which marks a new career-high.