Oct. 22, 2011
Site: Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)
Score: Northwestern 3, Iowa 0
Records: NU (11-10, 2-8 Big Ten), Iowa (11-12, 1-9 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, Oct. 28, 2011-- vs. No. 14 Minnesota (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 7 p.m.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern's women's volleyball team picked up its first Big Ten win of the season away from home Saturday with a straight-set victory (25-16, 25-11, 25-18) over the Iowa Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. Yewande Akanbi and Stephanie Holthus led all players in the match with nine kills in the victory.
As a team, Northwestern committed only 14 attacking errors in the three-set win, while racking up 11.5 more blocks than the Hawkeyes. The Wildcats also amassed 11 more digs and handed out seven more assists than their counterparts on the evening.
"The team played a complete match tonight against a talented Iowa team," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "We executed a very good scout and Yewande [Akanbi], Kathryn [Chrystal] and Hannah [Crippen] all played exceptionally well for the team tonight."
The 'Cats seemingly controlled the tempo from the opening serve. The teams traded points through much of the early going until, leading 10-8, Northwestern converted for four straight points from three different players to create some serious separation. Akanbi (Houston, Texas/Dawson), Hannah Crippen (Plainfield, Ill./North) and Kathryn Chrystal (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) all took successful swings for NU. The visitors would extend the lead to eight at several different junctures and a three-point run with kills from Crippen and Chrystal and a three-way block by that pair and Akanbi for the set-point winner. The Wildcats claimed the first set, 25-16.
Northwestern came out firing again in the second set. The Wildcats scored 11 of the first 15 points in the set and never looked back. Akanbi tallied six kills in the second set while committing a lone error in 10 swings.
The third set was the closest of the bunch Saturday, but Northwestern was never in real danger. After scoring the opening point of the set, Iowa would never regain, though the Hawkeyes would tie the set on several occasions, including at 13-13. NU would score three of the next four points with kills by Akanbi, Chrystal and Madalyn Shalter (Ottawa, Ohio/Ottawa-Glandorf) accounting for the damage.
Later, leading 23-18, Holthus (Burlington, Ill./Central) would put down her ninth and final kill to make it 24-18 and Katie Dutchman (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines) put up a solo block to secure match point for Northwestern. Dutchman, the reigning Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week and Co-Freshman of the Week tied Chrystal with six total blocks in the match to lead all players.
Holthus led all players in the match with 20 digs on Saturday night, tying her career high. The sophomore also added three block assists in the victory for NU. Libero Julie Chin (Naperville, Ill./North) was also in double-digits with 16 digs, while back row specialist Alex Ayers (Playa Del Ray, Calif./Marymount) added 11.
The Wildcats return home Friday, Oct. 28 to entertain No. 14 Minnesota at Welsh-Ryan Arena at 7 p.m. The Wisconsin Badgers will also visit Evanston next weekend with a 7 p.m. match on tap for Saturday.
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