Oct. 21, 2012
Watch: Iowa Match Highlights
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: Northwestern 3, Iowa 0
Records: NU (14-7, 3-7 Big Ten), Iowa (10-13, 2-8 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, Oct. 26 -- at No. 10 Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.), 6:30 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern used one of its finest defensive efforts of the year, including a season-high 13 blocks, to knock off the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes in straight sets Sunday, 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-15).
The Wildcats have now 15 consecutive sets in five straight matches against the Hawkeyes dating back to Nov. 21, 2009. Northwestern now leads the all-time series between the two Big Ten foes, 38-26-1.
Sophomore sensation Savannah Paffen led the charge Sunday with a career-high seven blocks. She also added nine kills on a match-best attacking percentage of .467 (9 kills - 2 errors - 15 attempts). Katie Dutchman and Madalyn Shalter also added five blocks apiece, while Shalter led all players with 33 assists in the victory.
Stephanie Holthus led the Wildcats with 11 kills, while sophomores Yewande Akanbi and Hannah Crippen each chipped in with seven terminations. Crippen had the best attacking day of her season with a mark of .462 (7-1-13).
The opening set was the closest of the day as it featured eight tie scores and five lead changes. With the score knotted at 21-21 late in the frame, Holthus unleashed back-to-back kills to put the 'Cats up by a pair. Following an Iowa timeout, Northwestern was awarded another point on an error on the Hawkeyes and moments later Holthus closed out the set in favor of the home side, 25-22, with her fifth kill of the frame.
Iowa built up an early four-point lead in the second set, 9-5, but it would not last for very long. A 6-1 run for the Wildcats would give them the lead for good in the second set.
|[NU head coach Keylor Chan]|
Leading 11-10, Northwestern went on a 9-5 run of its own, capped by a kill from Paffen, to go up 20-15. From there, Akanbi, Crippen and Paffen herself all dropped key kills down the stretch to award the Wildcats the second, 25-18. The triumph gave NU a 2-0 lead at the break, a feat that until Sunday, had not happened since Sept. 16 vs. Western Michigan.
Six of Northwestern's 13 blocks came in the second set. Paffen, Dutchman and Shalter were all credited with three rejections apiece in the frame.
The Wildcats emerged from the locker room determined to seal the deal. After grabbing a 15-11 advantage at the media timeout, Northwestern would not trail by more than four points the rest of the way. Iowa called a timeout trailing 18-12, but the 'Cats outscored the Hawkeyes 7-2 down the stretch to win the stanza, 25-15, and claim the match in the minimum three sets.
Holthus led all players with 12 digs in the match, while NU libero Julie Chin was also in double-digits with 10. Crippen, Shalter and Monica McGreal all tallied six digs in the contest.
Northwestern begins the second half of its Big Ten slate on Friday, Oct. 26 with a showdown against the 10th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis, Minn. At 6:30 p.m. The Wildcats took the first from Minnesota in their first meeting on Sept. 23, but the Gophers rebounded to claim the next three to escape town with a 3-1 victory.
After a day off, the road trip concludes with a match on Sunday, Oct. 28 against the Wisconsin Badgers at 1 p.m.
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