Volleyball: Wildcats conclude brutal road trip with loss to Iowa


Daily file photo by Sean Su

Freshman Symone Abbott has been one of the few bright spots during Northwestern’s disastrous road trip. After falling to Iowa in five sets Saturday, the Wildcats have now lost four straight games.

Max Gelman, Reporter


Northwestern is officially in free fall.

After three straight losses on the road, the Wildcats (13-6, 3-5 Big Ten)  hoped to salvage the finale of their four-game road trip against the Iowa Hawkeyes (9-10, 1-7) on Saturday. Unfortunately, NU was unable to pull out the win, falling to the Hawkeyes in five sets.

The Cats have now lost five of their last six matches, including this current four match losing streak, and have fallen to 3-5 in the Big Ten. Prior to this skid, they hadn’t lost consecutive matches.

NU won the first set by a score of 25-20 and never trailed by more than 2 points. A closely contested set, the Cats staved off an Iowa rally and put the nail in the coffin after a Hawkeye attack error late in the set. It was exactly the start that NU needed against a team that’s tough to beat on the road.

The next set wasn’t so promising for the Cats. After NU took an early lead, Iowa went on an 8-1 run and later a 6-1 run to pull away from the Cats. Although NU pulled back to within a point, the Hawkeyes ended up winning the set 25-23 and pulling even in the match 1-1.

Falling even further behind, the Cats dropped the third set 25-20. Iowa had a remarkable 17 kills during the set and hit to a .429 clip. The Hawkeyes, coming into the game winless against Big Ten opponents, appeared on the brink of their first conference victory by putting NU in a tight situation.

Frame number four narrowly went to the Cats, with the set being tied at 23 before NU managed to win the next 2 points and capture the set 25-23. Freshman Symone Abbott finished this set with a kill, as she continues to be a bright spot in a rapidly fading Cats team.

The fifth and final frame of the match was close throughout, yet NU never held a lead. Following a comeback to tie the set at 7, the Hawkeyes took the lead and never looked back. Iowa won the deciding set 15-12 and took the match three sets to two, capping off the Cats’ disappointing road trip.

NU will look to get off the schneid against the Purdue Boilermakers at Welsh-Ryan Arena Friday. No. 13 Purdue is coming off a narrow victory over Ohio State and is 7-1 in Big Ten play.

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