On Nov. 28, senior night in Carver-Hawkeye for the Hawkeye volleyball team, the Spartans jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first set and held their 5-point advantage at 10-5 and 15-10. The Hawkeyes seemed to level off and stay that close for a while, but a Michigan State run extended the deficit to 22-14 heading into a time-out from Iowa head coach Bond Shymansky.
Beginning with an Alex Lovell kill, the Hawkeyes managed to make the set interesting. They had a 6-1 run of their own to come within 23-20, prompting a Michigan State time-out.
Iowa stole the next point, but the hole it had put itself in proved too much to overcome. The Spartans concluded the set abruptly, 25-21.
Using a pair of kills from Alessandra Dietz, Iowa began the second set with a 3-2 lead. It didn’t last, however; the Spartans rallied to take a 5-3 lead before the Hawkeyes evened the score at 6.
Leading 8-7, the Hawkeyes won what seemed to be a pivotal point in the set. Taylin Alm had two solo blocks, and Dietz and Julianne Blomberg combined for another before the Spartans committed an attack error. The crowd inside Carver erupted, and the Hawkeyes won the next point as well, leading to another Spartan time-out as they trailed, 10-7.
Iowa stretched its lead to 15-11, but when the Spartans threatened at 15-14, a block by Lauren Brobst ended that run. Nevertheless, the set was eventually tied at 18, and Iowa gave up the lead at 20-19.
All of a sudden, Shymansky’s squad trailed 23-20 and was forced to call a time-out before the set got away.
An Iowa attack error out of the break put the Spartans at set point, and a kill ended the set, 25-20.
The Hawkeyes again jumped out to take a 3-1 lead in the third set three, but when Brobst collapsed on the floor suffering from an apparent right ankle injury, the arena became very somber quickly.
And that was reflected on the floor. The Spartans roared to capture a 5-3 advantage before the Hawkeyes tied it at 5.
Besides missing its leading attacker, the team just didn’t seem to be the same after Brobst’s injury. It never looked as if they’d given up, but the mood had been set, and Iowa was never able to build momentum for a full-blown comeback.
Michigan State established separation, leading 17-12 before a Shymansky time-out. The Spartans added to that out of the break, as back-to-back attack errors extended it to 19-12. The run ended as the Hawkeyes got a point to make the score 21-13.
That was essentially all she wrote for the Hawkeyes, however. Several kills later, the set was over, and Iowa had dropped its final match of the season.
The Hawkeyes finished 2014 14-17 overall, 6-14 in the Big Ten. The 6 conference wins is the most since they had 6 in 2008, and the team finished the year 5-5 in the last 10 matches.