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    Wildcats Prevail on Alumni Night Against Iowa, 3-0

    Sept. 28, 2013

    Northwestern Northwestern 3, Iowa 0
    Welsh-Ryan Arena • Evanston, Ill. • Attendance: 693

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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern put its five-match winning streak against Iowa to the test Saturday night and the Wildcats passed with flying colors as they downed the Hawkeyes with ease, 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-20). NU's last six wins against Iowa have all been straight-set victories dating back to November 21, 2009.

    "It was a great night for the 'Cats," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "We really showed our versatility tonight and it was a great opportunity to get a lot of different people involved in the match. We defended well and protected our home floor, which are two things that are critical in Big Ten play."

    The first game Saturday saw a great deal of back-and-forth as the `Cats and Hawkeyes traded the lead several times with neither team gaining more than a three-point edge early on. After NU scored four-straight points to jump ahead 15-12, however, the 'Cats didn't relinquish the lead again. Later, the Wildcats orchestrated a seven-point run to take a nine-point lead and close the first game, 25-16.

    Freshman Kayla Morin was nearly unstoppable for the home team in the opening frame. The Portage, Mich., native completed eight kills in the first game alone for Northwestern, more than Iowa's entire team, which scored seven.

    The second set was the tightest of the trio at Welsh-Ryan Arena Saturday night. After three consecutive aces by Iowa's Nikki Dailey, Chan called a timeout and his team responded with three scores in a row to even the ledger at 10 points apiece. The Hawkeyes would eventually regain their lead at 20-19, but it didn't last long. A kill from Katie Dutchman and a pair of attacking errors on the opponent gave Northwestern a 22-20 lead it wouldn't surrender. NU went on to take the second set, 25-22, to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room.

    Dutchman did the heavy lifting for Northwestern in the second set as she buried five kills on six attempts without an error.

    In a two-set hole, Iowa exploded out of the gate and scored four unanswered points, but the 'Cats calmly responded with four in a row of their own to even the score once again. Morin converted back-to-back attempts to give her team a 10-7 lead and force the Hawkeyes to use a timeout. The Wildcats continued to apply pressure, though, as they overpowered Iowa to win the third set, 25-20. Fittingly, it was Dutchman who fired off back-to-back scores to seal the match for the Purple and White.

    Morin finished with a match-high 16 kills Saturday to tie her career high. Dutchman finished with 12 and Stephanie Holthus added 12 kills to go along with 14 digs. Holthus was one of three players to record double-digit digs, joining teammates Caroline Niedospial (14) and Monica McGreal (10).

    Northwestern's blocking efforts were solid throughout the match, as well. One night after accounting for a career-high eight blocks against No. 12 Nebraska, Savannah Paffen led all players with seven against the Hawkeyes. Holthus and Caleigh Ryan also had four a piece as NU tallied 10.0 in the three-set win.

    Northwestern, which welcomed back dozens of alumni in a prematch ceremony Saturday, will hit the road for its next four matches beginning with a trip to No. 10 Michigan on Friday, Oct. 4. The 'Cats will take on the 15th-ranked Michigan State Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 5. The Wildcats will play at Indiana and No. 20 Purdue the following weekend.

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