The Iowa Ice, winners of the second women’s PVL championship, made the trip to Switzerland for the FIVB Women’s Club World Championships, Oct. 9–13. Coached by former University of Tennessee outside hitter and Davenport, Iowa, native Janelle Hester, the team was placed in a pool with Brazil’s Unilever Volei and Turkey’s Vakifbank Istanbul. The Iowa team faced Unilever first, falling 25-14, 25-16, 25-22, taking their only lead in the match during the third set at 16-15. Sarah Pavan, an Ontario native and former standout for Nebraska, plays for Unilever, one of only two players on the team not from Brazil.
Against Istanbul, the Ice again faced a taller, more internationally-experienced team, with the opponent boasting a roster that included eight members of the Turkish national team. In the 25-16, 25-12, 25-17 defeat, the Ice were out blocked by Istanbul 10–1.
The Ice, whose roster consists of former college players from across the Midwest, were not discouraged by the losses. “These are good teams,” said former Louisville outside hitter Justine Landi in an interview with USA Volleyball, “and I think we played really, really well considering that we have day jobs.”
They also had the misfortune of being put in a pool with the two teams who ended up meeting in the gold medal match, with Istanbul defeating Unilever in straight sets for the top prize.
Originally published in January 2014