Hawkeyes Look to Get Back on Winning Track

Oct. 2, 2003

This Week: The Iowa women’s volleyball team (5-7) will look to get back on the winning track Friday night when it hosts Illinois (10-2) at 7 p.m. and Northwestern (9-5) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Both matches will take place in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. There is a $3 admission charge for the Illinois match. The Northwestern match is free.

The Fighting Illini: Illinois is 10-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play after a win at Northwestern and a loss at Wisconsin. The Illini leads the conference in overall matches with a 3.09 blocks per game average. Illinois is second in digs per game with 15.61. Senior Lisa Argabright leads Illinois with 3.91 kills, ranking 13th in the conference, and 1.27 blocks, ranking sixth in the Big Ten. Argabright is also hitting at a .409 clip, ranking second in the conference statistics. Junior Setter Erin Virtue is averaging 12.55 assists per game. Junior Lauren Harks is eighth in the conference, averaging 3.23 digs per game.

Iowa-Illinois Series: Illinois leads the series, 34-12. In matches played in Iowa City, the Illini lead 15-8. Last season the teams split meetings with each winning on its home court.

The Wildcats: Northwestern is 9-5 overall and 0-2 in conference play after losses at Illinois and Wisconsin. In overall matches, the Wildcats rank second in the conference with 1.77 service aces, fifth with 16.50 kills per game and sixth with 14.62 digs per game. Seniors Iwona Lodzik and Erika Lange lead the Wildcat attack. Lodzik is fourth in the conference with a 4.31 kills per game average and Lange ranks eighth with 4.17 kills. Lodzik is also averaging 2.85 digs and Lange leads the team with 1.1 blocks. Junior setter Drew Robertson is averaging 12.97 assists.

Iowa-Northwestern Series: Iowa leads 23-22-1. In matches played in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes lead 13-8. Northwestern is currently on a three-match series winning streak dating back to 2001.

Iowa on TV: Saturday’s match between Iowa and Northwestern will be televised by FOX Sports Chicago. The match will be shown on a tape-delayed telecast on Sunday at 3 p.m. (CT).

Iowa Falls to #10 Northern Iowa: In its first home match of the season Iowa lost to 10th-ranked Northern Iowa, 3-0. Errors once again proved costly for the Hawkeyes as they committed nine service errors and 27 attack errors compared to Northern Iowa’s two service errors and 12 attack errors. Hitting percentage once again played a major factor as the Hawkeyes were out-hit .340-.091.

Hawkeyes Open Big Ten 0-2: Iowa began its conference season with 3-0 losses at Purdue and at Indiana. Against Purdue, the Hawkeyes finished the match with 34 kills, 49 digs and four team blocks compared to Purdue’s 58 kills, 52 digs and 11 team blocks. Hitting percentage proved to be a factor as Iowa hit at a .098 clip, its second lowest of the season. Purdue registered a .279 hitting percentage. The Hawkeyes were once again hampered by hitting percentage against Indiana. Iowa hit at a .127 clip while Purdue recorded a .302 hitting percentage. The Hawkeyes registered 36 kills, 29 assists and 40 digs compared to Indiana’s 52 kills, 42 assists and 43 digs.

Simpson Continues Attack: Junior Laura Simpson has continued her steady attack leading the Hawkeyes in kills over the last three matches. Simpson currently leads the Hawkeyes with 3.85 kills per game. She has led the Hawkeyes in kills in seven of twelve matches.

Mech Makes Her Mark: In only her first year of collegiate competition, freshman April Mech has made an instant impact for the Hawkeyes appearing in the starting lineup in all but two matches. Mech is currently averaging 1.55 kills and 2.10 digs per game.

Digging Away: Iowa’s conference-leading 16.35 digs per game has mostly been attributed to the play of junior defensive specialist Pam Kavadas and freshman outside hitter Tiana Costanzo. Costanzo leads the team and ranks ninth in the conference with 3.13 digs per game. Kavadas ranks 14th in the Big Ten with 2.72 digs. Each also split time in the libero position.

Giese Attacks Competition: Junior Carolyn Giese currently ranks second on the team with 3.13 kills per game. Earlier this season, Giese posted a team season best and a career-high 22 kills in Iowa’s victory over Duke.

Lipscomb Earns First Start: The Indiana match marked the first career start for freshman Aabria Lipscomb. Lipscomb set a career-high four kills and recorded three block assists against the Hoosiers. She also hit at a team-high .500 clip, committing no errors in eight total attempts.

Bates Sets Career Mark: Senior Louise Bates posted a career high with 28 assists against the Hooisers. Bates also recorded four kills, hit at a .375 clip and posted eight digs at Indiana.

Double the Fun: Senior Jitka Stehnova leads the team with five double-doubles this season. Stehnova also leads the team with 14 service aces.

Match Breakdown: The Hawkeyes have played four five-game matches this season. Iowa only played one five-game match last season (at Purdue 11/1/02). Iowa is 2-2 in five-game matches this season. The Hawkeyes have competed in two four-game matches and have a 1-1 record. Iowa has played six three-game matches this season and is 2-4.

In Big Ten Rankings: The Hawkeyes lead the conference in overall matches with 16.35 digs per game. In conference matches, Iowa ranks third with 14.83 digs. Tiana Costanzo is ninth in overall matches with 3.13 digs per game. In conference matches she is tied for 11th with 2.83 digs. Junior Pam Kavadas is 14th in overall matches with 2.72 digs and Jitka Stehnova ranks 16th with 2.70 digs per game. In conference matches, Louise Bates and April Mech are tied for 16th with 2.67 digs per game. Stehnova and Kavadas are 18th with 2.5 digs. Stehnova also ranks ninth in overall matches with .33 service aces per game.

In Iowa Rankings: Jitka Stehnova is currently fifth in Iowa’s all-time assists with 1,581. Pam Kavadas is 20th in career digs (702). Carolyn Giese is 24th in all-time attack percentage at .189 (406-194-1121).

International Experience: Assistant Coach Chris Gonzalez served as an assistant coach for the USA women’s national team that won the bronze medal match of the Pan American Games. Tiana Costanzo competed for the USA youth squad that spent the summer competing in Montreal. Laura Simpson competed for the Australian national team against Japan and participated in the Thang Long championship against Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Kazakhstan and Thailand.

Home Grown Hawkeyes: The Iowa roster features five Hawkeyes from the state of Iowa. Abby Tjaden is from Eldora, Carolyn Giese Dubuque, Lastascia Granger Waterloo and April Mech and Betsy Cordt Davenport.

The Long Beach State Connection: Head Coach Rita Buck-Crockett and assistant coaches Chris Gonzalez and Melissa Ohta all have ties to the Long Beach State program. Buck-Crockett served as an assistant coach from 1986-88. Gonzalez served as the 49ers’ assistant coach from 1997-2002 and was part of three final four teams, including the 1998 national champion squad that went undefeated (36-0). Ohta was a competitor on each of the final four teams as one of the nation’s top defensive specialists from 1997-2000.

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