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    Northwestern Knocks Off Iowa, 3-1

    Nov. 1, 2013

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    Northwestern Northwestern 3, Iowa 1
    Carver-Hawkeye Arena • Iowa City, Iowa • Attendance: 956

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern ran its winning streak over the Iowa Hawkeyes to six in a row as the Wildcats opened the weekend with a 3-1 victory (25-23, 16-25, 25-17, 25-13) on Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

    "It was critical for us to start the second half of Big Ten play on the right note and I believe we did that tonight," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "We saw a few things out there that we'll need to clean up, but overall it was a strong effort against a solid Iowa team. We look forward to our next challenge tomorrow night against the Huskers."

    The Hawkeyes took the first significant lead of the match, 8-4, but the Wildcats used a 7-1 run, that included a pair of kills from Kayla Morin to take the lead for the first time at 11-9. Following a timeout, Iowa rebounded to take a one-point lead at 16-15, but Northwestern wouldn't back down that easily. The two teams went back-and-forth until the 'Cats tied it up at 21 points apiece following a monster block by Maggie Burnham and Stephanie Holthus. The visitors grabbed the lead for good on an attacking error by Iowa and closed out the set with a thunderous kill from Holthus to win, 25-23. It was the first time that the Wildcats won the opening set of a match since Oct. 16 against then-seventeenth-ranked Ohio State at home.

    Morin, a freshman from Portage, Mich., led the charge for Chicago's Big Ten Team in the opening frame. The outside hitter tallied five kills, three digs and a pair of blocks for Northwestern. Another newcomer, setter Caleigh Ryan had 10 assists and five digs in the first set for NU.

    Iowa shook off its first-set loss rather quickly as it raced out to an early 11-4 lead on the Wildcats. Northwestern would come as close as three points on four different occasions, but it was never able to close the gap completely as the Hawkeyes went on a late 6-0 run to secure a 25-16 win and even the match at a set apiece. Prior to dropping the second set Friday night, NU had not dropped a game to Iowa since October 23, 2009, a span of 16-straight winners. That was also the last time that the Hawkeyes beat Northwestern, here in Iowa City.

    The 'Cats struggled to maintain any offensive rhythm in the second stanza as they tallied only 10 kills and were plagued by five errors. Iowa, on the other side of the net, hit over .400 in the second set, led by middle blocker Alessandra Dietz, who had five kills on seven swings without a miscue.

    After the respite, it was the Wildcats that came out reinvigorated. Morin had a pair of early kills, as did Katie Dutchman, who celebrated a birthday Friday, to give NU an 11-4 advantage in the early going. As Northwestern did in the second set, the home team cut its seven-point disadvantage to three points at 15-12, but the 'Cats quickly scored four unanswered points, punctuated on a block from Ryan and Savannah Paffen, to regain its previous cushion. The Wildcats would go on to win the third set, 25-17, to take a 2-1 overall lead in the match.

    Northwestern got off to another strong start in the match's fourth set. The 'Cats scored the first four points and seven of the first ten to take a lead that they would never relinquish. NU led 12-4 on another kill from Morin and Iowa called a timeout to try to slow down the visitors. The stoppage didn't help too much, however, as the 'Cats led by as many as 14 points en route to a 25-12 set victory, which was sealed by Morin and her 13th kill of the evening.

    Holthus secured her team-best 12th double-double of the season behind 16 kills and 13 digs. Ryan produced her eighth double-double with 42 assists and 10 digs. Holthus, a team captain, owns 1,653 career kills, which ranks second on Northwestern's all-time list. The 2012 All-America needs only 14 terminations to become the program's all-time leader in that category.

    Caroline Niedospial anchored the back row yet again for the Wildcats. The libero registered 17 digs and chipped in with four assists. Burnham led the front row with four blocks for Northwestern.

    The 'Cats will continue west for the final match of the road trip tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. against No. 11 Nebraska at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. The Huskers got the best of Northwestern in the first match this season, winning 3-1 in the Big Ten opener for both squads on Sept. 27.

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