Last week was a busy one in Hawkeye sports outside of football -- and it was also a very successful one for the folks in black and gold.
THE CURSE IS LIFTED. Pat already hit on this in INP, but it's worth noting again because, hell, how often do you break a streak that's gone on since 1997? To put that in perspective, the players that led Iowa to victory on Friday night were all toddlers when Iowa last beat Iowa State in volleyball. Iowa started the match poorly, dropping the first set to the Cyclones, 25-17. They bounced back with a 25-17 win of their own in the second set, though, and added a 25-18 win in the third set to take a 2-1 lead. Then they finished off the historic win with a razor-thin 28-26 victory in the fourth set to win the match. The Iowa offense was on fire all night, posting a season-best 66 kills, led by Jess Janota (20) and Lauren Brobst (17). Loxley Keala handed out a season-best 55 assists to pace the Iowa attack. Well done, Iowa.
Iowa State wasn't the only team that Iowa volleyball took down this weekend, either -- their weekend began with a straight sets win over Milwaukee: 25-23, 25-23, and 25-19. Brobst and Mkaela Gunderson again led the Iowa offense with 11 kills apiece, while Keala was again excellent in distribution -- she had a team-high 42 assists.
Iowa wrapped up the weekend -- and the 2015 Comfort Suites Challenge Championship -- by knocking off a ranked opponent, #25 Texas A&M, on Saturday night. Iowa took the first set from the Aggies, 25-23, but dropped the second set, 25-20. They rebounded to take the third and fourth sets by identical scores (25-22) to claim a 3-1 win. Iowa's win over A&M wasn't as historic as their win over Iowa State -- they last beat a ranked team (#12 Purdue) in 2014 -- but it did provide further evidence of the impressive improvement that Iowa has made in volleyball over the last few years. They're becoming more than just "competitive" -- they're actually beating good teams now. Brobst led Iowa's offense with 17 kills, while Kaela managed to one-up her performance from the Iowa State match with a 57-assist showing in this match. Fantastic job, ladies.
CY-HAWK SWEEP. The Cy-Hawk series got underway this weekend and so far Iowa's enjoying plenty of success against their in-state rival. In addition to the win in football and the historic win in volleyball, Iowa also claimed a 1-0 win over Iowa State in soccer. Tory Harman scored her first career goal for Iowa just six minutes into the game, but that proved to be enough for an Iowa win. ISU outshot Iowa 15 to 9 (and had six shots on goal versus five for Iowa), but they couldn't breach Hannah Clark's goal. It was Clark's third shutout of the season.
Iowa was back in action yesterday, blanking Illinois Chicago 3-0. Iowa started sluggishly but picked up a first period lead behind a goal from Bri Toelle (her fourth of the season). Hannah Brobst and Karly Stuenkel added a pair of goals for Iowa in the second half to lock up the win, while Hannah Clark added another shutout in net. Iowa outshot the Flames 19 to 10 and forced 8 saves from the UIC keepers. Iowa wraps up non-conference play with a 6-1 record; they head out to Michigan next weekend to face Michigan State and Michigan to begin B1G play.
FIELD HOCKEY UPS AND DOWNS. The Iowa field hockey team returned home after their early season travels (during which they went 2-2) to begin a five-game homestand. The homestand began with three games this past weekend, leading off with perhaps the toughest game on their schedule -- a clash with #5 Stanford. Unfortunately, Iowa lost a nail-biter to the Cardinal, 3-2, on a last-second shot off a penalty corner. Stanford opened up a 1-0 lead in the first half, before Iowa fired back with two goals in the second half to take a 2-1 lead of their own 50 minutes in. Stanford tied the game at 2-2 a few minutes later, before getting the aforementioned match-winner as time-expired. Iowa was perhaps a bit unlucky to come up short in their upset bid -- they led Stanford in penalty corners (11 to 5) and total shots (17 to 9); alas, the Cardinal were able to do just a bit more with their opportunities.
Iowa bounced back from that tough loss well, though -- they smashed Kent State 7-1 on Saturday behind a pair of goals each from Stephanie Norlander and Makenna Grewe. Iowa again dominated their opponent in total shots (2o to 8); fortunately, this time they were able to make that advantage count. Iowa followed up that dominant win with another blowout on Sunday, blasting Saint Louis, 7-0. Norlander continued her high-scoring weekend by recording a hat trick (the third of her career). The stats fully bear out how dominant this performance was, too -- Iowa led Saint Louis in penalty corners 18 to 1 and had a staggering 42 to 2 (!) edge in total shots. The Saint Louis goalie conceded 7 goals... but she also made 16 saves. She had a very busy day. Iowa (4-3) returns to action next Friday for their first taste of Big Ten play, against Rutgers.
* Iowa women's golf got their fall season underway with a win the Diane Thomason Invitational, cruising past the rest of the field by 18 strokes.
Jessica Ip led the way with her first-place finish (-4) at the event to take medalist honors, and her three-round total of 2013 was a new program record. Ip's teammates, Jessie Sindlinger and Amy Ihm, finished fourth and sixth overall, respectively.
* Cross-country headed to Normal, Ill. for their second event of the season and were a bit more successful at the Illinois State Invitational -- the Iowa men had two top-ten finishers (Anthony Gregorio, 9th; Ben Anderson, 10th) that fueled a second place finish in the 8000m, while Madison Waymore finished in third place in the 5000m. As a team, Iowa finished in fifth in the 5000m.
* The Iowa women's basketball team is heading to Austin, TX over Thanksgiving for the Lone Star Showcase tournament. The other teams in the field are George Washington, Houston, Wright State, Creighton, East Carolina, Eastern Washington, and Northwestern. GW looks like the toughest team in the field -- they were 29-4 a year ago and ended the season in the top 15 of the RPI rankings -- although it's unclear how much of that talent they return.
IOWA SPORTS CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK
(all times Central)
9/14: Gopher Invitational (men's golf; Minneapolis, MN)
9/18: Iowa vs Michigan State (soccer; East Lansing, MI), Iowa vs Rutgers (field hockey; Iowa City, IA), Iowa vs Gardner-Webb, Iowa vs Coastal Carolina (volleyball; Iowa City, IA)
9/19: Iowa vs Ontario Blue Jays (baseball; Iowa City, IA), Iowa vs Coastal Carolina, Iowa vs Drake (volleyball; Iowa City, IA)
9/20: Iowa vs Michigan (soccer; Ann Arbor, MI), Iowa vs Missouri State (field hockey; Iowa City, IA); Iowa vs St. Ambrose (baseball; Iowa City, IA)