Iowa Fights Past #24 Illinois In Thrilling Five Set Match

  0 Carly DeMarque | October 30th, 2016 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News

Match Stats

The five set battle was the first time the Hawkeyes have taken down the Fighting Illini since 2005. With a 17-7 overall and 7-5 B1G record, it is the best start for the Hawks since 2000, when the team finished the season at an 11-7 conference record.

Both teams played evenly to each other, with Iowa barely out-hitting Illinois .314-.313. The Hawks had more aces at 7-5, but the Illini out-blocked Iowa 14-6.

Reghan Coyle put down a personal best 18 kills in the victory, adding three blocks to her tally. Four other Hawkeyes had double-digit kills, Jess Janota (17), Ashley Mariani (13), Meghan Buzzerio (11) and Lauren Brobst (10). Setter Loxley Keala had a career-night with a personal-best 65 assists and nine digs, while Annika Olsen picked up 22 digs.

For Illinois Naya Crittenden put down 16 kills and four blocks, while Michelle Strizak added 15 kills and three blocks. Also having a big night was Katie Stadick with 11 kills and eight blocks. Setter Jordyn Poulter handed out 60 assists her career-best.


Press Release

Courtesy of Iowa Athletics

IOWA CITY, Iowa – After setting a career-high in kills on Friday night, Reghan Coyle lit up the court with a new personal-best 18 kills to lead the University of Iowa volleyball team to a thrilling five-set victory over 24th-ranked Illinois in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday night. The victory marked the first time the Hawkeyes have topped the Fighting Illini since 2005.

“It feels great for our ladies,” said head coach Bond Shymansky. “They’re working so hard and showing so much fight each match. After a tough match against No. 3 Minnesota last weekend, here we are against another ranked Big Ten team, and we keep showing them that we’re one of the best teams in this league. Our drive and the terminal toughness we keep displaying in clutch moments is fantastic and I couldn’t be more excited for our young women.”

The Hawkeyes are now 17-7 overall and 7-5 in Big Ten action. Iowa’s seven league wins are the most for the program since 2000 when the squad finished the season with an 11-7 conference record. Illinois is now 14-9 overall and 7-5 in the B1G.

For the third time this season, five Hawkeyes reached double-digits in kills. In addition to Coyle, Jess Janota (17), Ashley Mariani (13), Meghan Buzzerio (11) and Lauren Brobst (10) contributed kills to give Iowa a .314 attack percentage against a team who has held opponents to an average of a .175 hitting percentage this season.

“A fantastic team effort from us again, and Brobst really got fired up during the end there,” said Shymansky. “But what can you say about Reghan Coyle, Jess Janota, Meghan Buzzerio and Ashley Mariani. They are just lightning for us right now. What a fantastic win for us here at home. We keep defending what we’re doing and building our terminal toughness through the course of the season.”

In addition to Buzzerio’s kills, the redshirt freshman notched 10 digs for her second double-double of the season. Loxley Keala had another career night with a personal-best 65 assists and nine digs. Annika Olsen amassed 22 digs and five assists.

With the score knotted at two sets each, the Hawkeyes came out fighting in set five. With the final set tied at 7-7, the home team used a 7-3 run to take a 14-10 advantage, forcing Illinois to call a timeout. Illinois attempted a comeback and had back-to-back scores, but a kill by Mariani silenced the Fighting Illini to clinch a 15-12 set win and a 3-2 match victory.

The Fighting Illini took an early 5-2 lead in set one, but Iowa stormed back with a 6-2 rally to take an 8-7 lead. The Hawkeyes trailed 14-16 when they caught fire and finished the set on an 11-4 run. Mariani (4), Buzzerio (1), Janota (1) and Coyle (1) racked up kills, while sophomore Molly Kelly chipped in an ace to secure the 25-20 set victory.

After dropping set two, the Hawkeyes capture a win in set three. Illinois held a 7-5 lead when the home team used a 5-2 run to knot the set at 9-9. The teams traded points before the Fighting Illini used a 6-2 stretch to take a 19-17 advantage. Iowa responded with an 8-2 run, bolstered by two kills each from Brobst, Coyle and Janota, to capture a 25-21 third-set victory.

Iowa fell in sets two and four. Set two featured 13 ties and six lead changes before the visitors clinched a 25-22 set win. Coyle racked up six kills and Janota added five. Set four contained 12 tie scores and just one lead change before Illinois captured a 26-24 win. Brobst amassed five kills, while Buzzerio and Janota each accumulated six.

Iowa continues league play next weekend as they travel to Rutgers on Friday and Penn State on Saturday. Rutgers is slated for a 6 p.m. (CT) first serve, while Penn State is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Press Release

Courtesy of Illinois Athletics

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The No. 24 Fighting Illini team received career performances from seniors Michelle Strizak and Naya Crittenden, sophomore Jordyn Poulter and redshirt-freshman Beth Prince, but were tripped up by Iowa in a five-set battle (20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 12-15) – their seventh fifth-set match of the season – on Saturday (Oct. 29) night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Illini fall to 14-9 on the season and 7-5 in the Big Ten Conference with the setback, while the Hawkeyes move to 17-7 and 7-5 in the league.

Crittenden led all Illini hitters with a team-high 16 kills on 26 attacks and only four errors for a .462 hitting percentage, while Strizak registered her fifth career double-double with 15 kills and a team-high 17 digs. Prince, who previously had 15 career kills, came off the bench and made an immediate impact with a career-high 11 kills on the night. Poulter paced the Illini offense with a career-high 60 assists.

In the highly competitive match, neither team would gain much control in the first four stanzas as late-set runs determined the outcome. After falling behind 2-1 in the contest and with the fourth set knotted at 16-16, four-straight points – including back-to-back service aces from junior Brandi Donnelly gave the visitors a 20-16 edge. The Hawkeyes would not make it is and mounted a comeback to tie the score at 24-24, but a Crittenden kill, followed by a kill from Strizak and classmate Katie Stadick sent the match to a decisive fifth set.

After a Crittenden opened the fifth and final set, the Hawkeyes jumped out to a 7-5 lead with back-to-back points. After the Illini evened up the score at 8-8, Iowa used a 6-2 run to take a 14-10 advantage. Illinois fought off two match points on Prince and Stadick kills, before the Hawkeyes finished it on a Ashley Mariani kill. Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly challenged the final play as a touch on the Iowa attack was called, but the point was not overturned, giving the Hawkeyes the win.

Both teams were strong offensively in the match, with the Illini registering a .312 hitting percentage, with three sets over .300 including a .484 mark in the second period, while the Hawkeyes also posted a .314 hitting percentage with three of five sets over .300.

Stadick and sophomore Ali Bastianelli also totaled double-digit kills with Stadick notching 11 kills to go with a match-high eight blocks and Bastianelli recording 10 kills on 15 swings and only two errors for a .533 hitting percentage and six stuffs. As a team, the Illini outblocked Iowa 14-6 in the match.

Defensively, Donnelly added 14 digs in the loss.

Illinois returns to action next weekend as the Illini continue their four-match road swing with trips to No. 13 Michigan on Friday (Nov. 4) at 6 p.m. CT and No. 15 Michigan State on Saturday (Nov. 5) at 5:30 p.m. CT.

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About Carly DeMarque

Carly DeMarque

Carly DeMarque has been involved with competitive volleyball for the majority of her life, playing competitively at the club and collegiate level for 15 years and coaching club for five. Now a retired Division I volleyball athlete out of McNeese State University, she continues her volleyball enthusiasm by stepping back into …

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