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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Volleyball: Northwestern earns its first sweep in Big Ten play against Iowa

Daily file photo by Taylor Hancock
Northwestern celebrates winning a point. The ‘Cats defeated Iowa in three sets Sunday.

In its first sweep of the Big Ten season, Northwestern overpowered Iowa. 

The Wildcats (12-14, 6-10 Big Ten) defeated the Hawkeyes on the road (8-20, 0-16 Big Ten) in straight sets Sunday. 

“We knew it was going to be a battle. We knew it was going to be tough,” coach Shane Davis said. “So I’m just happy that we’re able to consistently take three sets.” 

The quick match was punctuated by 15 kills from graduate outside hitter Julia Sangiacomo and an efficient .400 hitting percentage from sophomore middle blocker Kennedy Hill. Hill and graduate outside hitter Maddy Chinn led the team in blocks, tallying six apiece. 

NU’s serving was inconsistent — the team lost eight points on service errors but dished out five aces. Sophomore outside hitter Averie Hernandez led the team from the service line and was responsible for three aces, alongside 11 kills and six digs throughout the match.

“Our misses were so deep, and we wanted to miss short,” Davis said. “So then once we started getting our misses short, then they started falling and just kind of finding their way there versus going for the ace.”

Set one was a battle from the first serve. The ‘Cats had trouble putting together a run, hurt by four service errors and some offensive mistakes. Eventually, a 3-0 run gave NU the lead, aided by kills from Hill and Sangiacomo. 

The ‘Cats effectively countered a last-second comeback attempt by Iowa, punctuated by kills from senior settler Alexa Rousseau and Hernandez to take the set, 26-24. 

The Hawkeyes began set two with a bang, taking a 10-7 lead on a 6-0 run. Chinn’s five kills proved essential in the ‘Cats evening out the score. The set stayed close until a 5-0 run by NU, allowing the ‘Cats to take the set 25-21.

“We were making some errors that then were turned into points, and in set two we found ourselves missing a lot (of serves) which kept them in it,” Davis said.

NU and Iowa traded points to start set three, with senior middle blocker Leilani Dodson supplying three kills while Sangiacomo jumped into the action with eight. The ‘Cats eventually pulled ahead after 16 tie scores and 10 lead changes, finishing the match on two Sangiacomo kills, 25-21.

The win came days after NU took a set from No. 1 Nebraska, which Davis said was a motivator for the rest of the season. 

“We’ve got four good matches left,” Davis said. “We go on the road for two of four. So I think there’s some belief in this group that they can do it.”

The ‘Cats will look to stay in the win column at Rutgers and Penn State next weekend.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @pleonegetten

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