Another week of fall sports in the books for Iowa athletes, with a few really excellent results, some OK results, and a few really bad results. Let's get to it...
GOLF The big success story of the week for Iowa sports (well, non-football Iowa sports) came on the links, where the men's golf team took home the top prize at the Golfweek Conference Challenge at Spirit Hollow Golf Course in Burlington, IA. The Hawks posted a total score of -22 and finished three strokes ahead of the next closest team, NC State. Iowa was led by Raymond Knoll, who posted a -11 total, good for a tie for first place overall among individual finishers (with Kansas State's Jeremy Gandon) as well as setting a 54-hole record for Iowa golfers. If not for a semi-sluggish 72 in the third round, Knoll might have shattered that record -- he shot rounds of 66 and 67 in the first two rounds. Nate Yankovich (-7) and Carson Schaake (-6) also posted top-10 finishes for Iowa, who claimed their first tournament win since taking the Hawkeye-GRE Invitational in April 2014.
Hawkeyes Win 2015 GolfWeek Challenge Title http://t.co/ZbLauGg39d— Iowa Hawkeye Golf (@IowaHawkeyeGolf) September 28, 2015
Meanwhile, the Iowa women's golf team finished 3rd out of 18 teams at the 8th Annual Johnie Imes Invitational in Columbia, MO. (Missouri finished -39 and absolutely demolished the field; Middle Tennessee State finished 2nd at -14 and Iowa was tied for third at even par.) Amy Ihm and Elisa Suarez led the way for Iowa, each posting -3 total and finishing tied for 8th overall.
Knoll and Ihm both earned Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors for their excellent play over the weekend:
VOLLEYBALL Remember last week when we said that shit was about to get real for the red-hot Iowa volleyball team? Well, it got real alright -- painfully real. Iowa dropped a home and away set of matches against #4 Nebraska last week. Iowa fared much better in the first match, held in Iowa City. They lost three sets to none, but the margin of defeat was narrow -- 25-23, 25-20, 25-23. Lauren Brobst powered the Iowa offense with 16 kills, while Loxley Keala continued her strong table-setting work with 37 assists. Iowa actually head a 17-10 lead in the first set, but Nebraska responded with a 10-1 run to take a 20-18 lead and eventually win the set. Iowa also led 6-1 in the second set, before Nebraska again turned on the jets to take the set. Nebraska was the team in control in the third set, but Iowa battled back with six straight points at 20-14 to tie the score at 20-20. Alas, they couldn't break through and win the set.
The rematch in Lincoln four days later went much more poorly for Iowa. They again got swept, three sets to none, but the margins of defeat were nowhere near as close -- 25-10, 25-21, 25-18. Nebraska used a 13-1 run to turn the first set into a rout. Iowa fought back in the second and third sets, but again came up short. Brobst led Iowa's offense with only 8 kills, while Keala had just 25 assists. Iowa came up short against Nebraska, but they just didn't quite keep up with a more talented opponent. They definitely seem to be improving, though, and hopefully they'll get over the hump against a team like Nebraska soon. They'll have more opportunities to battle the sport's best this week -- they face #12 Ohio State and #1 Penn State on the road this weekend.
SOCCER Iowa soccer started off Big Ten play with an empty road trip to Michigan, losing 2-1 to Michigan and losing 1-0 on a goal in the dying moments of the match against Michigan State. Sadly, the results didn't get any better last weekend despite being in the friendly confines of Iowa City. Iowa lost 3-1 to Ohio State on Friday night, conceding two goals in the second half after the game was tied at halftime. Ohio State opened the scoring in the 34th minute, but Brooke Backes answered for Iowa just a few moments later. Ohio State dominated the attack in the game (20-8 advantage in shots, including a 10-2 advantage in shots on goal), though, and finally broke through with the winner in the 70th minute, before adding an insurance goal in the 85th minute.
At least Iowa had one fairly good half against Ohio State -- the game against Penn State was a debacle almost from the opening whistle. Iowa gave up goals in the 17th and 21st minutes, before Bri Toelle cut Penn State's lead in half with her 5th goal of the year in the 27th minute. Alas, Penn State responded with another goal moments later, restoring their two goal lead. They added two more goals in the second half to make the blowout complete. Once again, Iowas was badly outclassed in attack, with Penn State outshooting Iowa 24-8 and 15-2 in shots on goal. Hannah Clark came up with 8 saves in her 68 minutes of action, but if your goalie is being forced to work that much, odds are that some shots will get through.
Iowa fell to 0-4 in the conference with the losses and 6-5 overall. They'll get another chance to claim their first Big Ten win of the season this weekend at Indiana; the Hoosiers are 3-5-4 overall and 0-2-2 in league play.
FIELD HOCKEY Speaking of Indiana road trips... Iowa field hockey played a pair of games in the Hoosier State last weekend and split the results. In the first game, they dropped a 3-1 decision to Indiana. Iowa gave up a goal right before halftime to go down 1-0, then went down 2-0 partway through the second half. Stephanie Norlander scored her Big Ten-leading 11th goal of the season to chop Iowa's deficit in half, but Iowa wasn't able to get any more goals while Indiana added another in the 69th minute to lock up the win. Iowa bounced back with a 6-1 win over Ball Statea few days later, behind a combined four goals from Norlander and Veronique Declercq. Iowa jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 25 minutes after goals from Declercq, JoElla Guagliardo, and Norlander, then added three more in a 15-minute spurt in the second half, with Declercq, Chandler Ackers, and Norlander boosting Iowa's lead. That rout improved Iowa's record to 7-4 overall.
- Iowa softball picked up another exhibition win over the weekend, trouncing Kirkwood Community College, 10-0. Iowa has yet to concede a run in fall ball action.
- Iowa women's tennis went 3-10 in doubles action and 5-14 in singles action at the Furman Fall Classic. Taylor Tamblyn was the standout for Iowa, going 2-0 in her singles matches.
- Meanwhile, Iowa men's tennis had mixed results at the Western Michigan Invite, with Nils Hallestrand providing the top results, including a 2nd place finish in the Flight D Singles and (teaming with Jonas Larsen) finishing 3rd in the Flight B Doubles bracket.
- Finally, Iowa rowing posted three first place finishes at the Head of the Des Moines Regatta, beating Minnesota twice and Drake once. WHO HATES IOWA NOW, HUH. Probably still Minnesota, actually.
IOWA SPORTS CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK
(all times Central)
10/2: Notre Dame Invitational (cross country; South Bend, IN), Iowa Scout Day (baseball; Iowa City, IA), Iowa vs Indiana (rowing; Iowa City, IA), Iowa vs. Northwestern (field hockey; Evanston, IL), Iowa vs. Ohio State (volleyball; Columbus, OH), Purdue Invitational (women's tennis; West Lafayette, IN)
10/3: Iowa vs. Indiana (rowing; Iowa City, IA), Iowa vs. UNI, Iowa vs. Drake (softball; Des Moines, IA), Iowa vs. Penn State (volleyball; University Park, PA), Iowa vs. Indiana (soccer; Bloomington, IN), Purdue Invitational (women's tennis; West Lafayette, IN), ITA All-American Pre-Qualifying (men's tennis; Tulsa, OK)
10/4: Iowa vs. Iowa State (softball; Des Moines, IA), Purdue Invitational (women's tennis; West Lafayette, IN), ITA All-American Pre-Qualifying (men's tennis; Tulsa, OK)