Flames Drop Final Two Matches at Iowa's Hawkeye Challenge
Sept. 14, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The UIC volleyball team dropped the final two matches at Iowa’s Hawkeye Challenge Saturday. The Flames (4-7) fell to Ball State, 3-0, in the early afternoon and lost to Iowa, 3-1, at night. Ball State (4-0) took home the team title while Iowa (3-1), Western Illinois (1-3), Drake (1-3) and UIC (1-3) rounded out the tournament field.
For her play over the weekend, junior Sara Sternard was named to the Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team. Sternard recorded 27 kills, a team-high eight total blocks and two service aces over four matches.
Other UIC standouts at the Hawkeye Challenge include freshman Kara Johnson (41 kills, six aces and seven blocks), junior Molly McCoy (33 kills), freshman Casey Harris (19 kills and six blocks), senior MaryKate Imrie (129 assists, 25 digs and six blocks), junior Maggie Strus (50 digs) and senior Justine Garcia (40 digs and six aces).
UIC stays on the road next weekend (Sept. 20-21) as the Flames compete in Kent State’s Golden Flashes Classic in Kent, Ohio. UIC takes on Eastern Illinois, Binghamton and Kent State over the two-day tournament.
Ball State 3, UIC 0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-14)
Ball State (8-3) only committed one attack error in the first set and hit at a .464 clip. The Cardinals picked up where they left off and recorded a .406 attack percentage in the second set.
The third set was much closer than the first two as it featured nine ties and six lead changes. The Flames held an 8-7 advantage, tied it up at 9-9 and trailed by only one point at 12-11 following a Harris kill.
However, the Cardinals took control of the match following a Sternard kill that trimmed the Ball State lead to 14-12. Ball State scored 11 out of the next 13 points to seal the victory.
Sternard led the UIC offense with seven kills on 18 attempts. Harris and sophomore Melissa Nava each added five kills and Imrie had 23 assists. Garcia compiled eight digs and Harris collected two total blocks.
Iowa 3, UIC 1 (25-12, 25-20, 22-25, 28-26)
Iowa (8-2) held the Flames to six kills in the first set and seven kills in the second set to take a quick 2-0 lead. The Hawkeyes also combined for 28 kills and a .290 attack percentage over the first two sets.
However, the Flames responded by putting down 13 kills on 35 attempts in the third set victory. Johnson took 17 swings in the third set alone and collected a team-high four kills. McCoy only needed four total attempts to record three kills and Imrie assisted on 11 of the Flames’ 13 kills.
The UIC defense forced six attack errors and allowed just seven Iowa kills on 31 attempts (.032 attack percentage) in the third set victory. Sternard assisted on both UIC blocks during the set.
The fourth set was tightly contested as it featured 11 ties and three lead changes. UIC ran out to an 8-4 lead on a McCoy kill before Iowa came back to tie it at 10-10. The Flames and Hawkeyes went back and forth until McCoy put down another clutch kill to make it a 23-21 UIC lead.
Iowa would regain the lead late in the set but UIC tied it up at 26-26 on a Johnson’s fifth kill of the set. Two consecutive Hawkeye kills ended the set and the match.
Johnson led UIC with 13 kills on a match-high 52 attempts and McCoy added 10 kills on 27 attempts. Imrie dished out 32 assists on 39 UIC kills and compiled nine digs while Sternard assisted on four of UIC’s six team blocks. Nava and Johnson also picked up three block assists.
Garcia and sophomore Tracy Friel both collected 11 digs on defense. Garcia also had four of UIC’s seven service aces.
Hawkeye Challenge Final Standings
1. Ball State 4-0
2. Iowa 3-1
3. Western Illinois 1-3
4. Drake 1-3
5. UIC 1-3
*A set win/loss percentage was used to determine spots 3, 4 and 5.
Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team
Jacqui Seidel (BSU) -- MVP