Meghan Macdonald had 15 kills vs. Iowa.
Oct. 14, 2005
Champaign, Ill. - Iowa held off a furious third-game Illinois rally, including fighting off two game points to finish off the host Illini in three games, 30-27, 30-26, 35-33 in front of 1,246 at Huff Hall. Meghan Macdonald paced the Illini with 15 kills and hit .500 while teammate Rachel VanMeter added 14 kills and hit .268
The difference on the evening was 15 service errors compared to just four service aces for Illinois. The Hawkeyes had seven aces compared to just five service errors. Freshman Catherine Smale led Iowa with 13 kills. The Illini out-hit the Hawkeyes .204-.200.
"We've shown flashes of great play," Illinois Head Coach Don Hardin said afterward. "You see eight or ten awesome plays in a row then we fall off. The players are fighting hard and I know we're going to get over the top, probably when everyone counts us out."
The victory for Iowa was the first over Illinois at Huff Hall since 1994 and the first time the Hawkeyes have taken a game from Illinois in Champaign since 2000. The Hawkeyes improve to 13-7 overall, 3-4 in the Big Ten. The Illini are now 11-7, 2-5 in the league.
"We're so close," said senior outside hitter Rasa Virsilaite. "We just need to be a little more consistent and recover from mistakes faster."
Illinois had leads in both games one and game three. The third game was competitive with Illinois posting six team blocks in the game after managing just three in the first two games. VanMeter and Macdonald helped the Illini build a 15-9 lead, but Iowa went on a 10-2 run to take a brief 19-17 advantage. The Illini rebounded to re-take the lead and seemingly had Iowa on the ropes, ahead 26-23. Redshirt freshman Kayani Turner had back-to-back blocks to give Illinois a 29-28 advantage. After Iowa tied the score, Illinois again had a game point, but could not capitalize. After exchanging serves until 35-34, Iowa finally clinched the victory.
Illinois controlled most of the first game, jumping to a 7-3 lead in the first game behind three kills from VanMeter. Macdonald scored on a back slide and Virsilaite pounded one to the floor to make it 9-4. That's when Iowa began to chip away closing to within 11-9 and 13-12 before finally tying the score at 14-14. A pair of Virsilaite kills again gave Illinois a lead at 18-14. Rachel Henderson had a pair of digs to keep a rally going and VanMeter finished off a point to make it 21-18. Iowa finally took the lead for good at 24-23 and out-scored the Illini 15-8 to close out the game. VanMeter and Virsilaite each had six kills in the opening game for Illinois. The Hawkeyes had four service aces.
Game two saw Iowa jump to a sizable lead only to see the Illini rally back. The Hawkeyes led 10-4 before Illinois took timeout. After trailing 13-7, the Illini out-scored the Hawkeyes 13-7 to tie the score at 20. Vicki Brown had two of her four kills in the game in the stretch. The Illini never took the lead and the game was tied just once more at 22 before the Hawkeyes went on an 8-4 run to close out the game. Iowa hit .355 in game two compared to the Illini's .196.
Illinois hosts ninth-ranked Minnesota on Saturday evening at 7p.m. The match will be aired on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m. CT on Sunday afternoon.