Hawkeyes to Host Minnesota and Travel to #21 Wisconsin

Oct. 6, 2003

This Week: The Iowa women’s volleyball team (5-9) will look to snap a five-match losing streak when it hosts Minnesota (9-7) Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes will then travel to Madison, WI, to face Wisconsin (11-4). Competition is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Wisconsin Field House.

The Golden Gophers: Minnesota is 9-7 overall and 2-2 in conference play after wins over Northwestern and Illinois. In overall matches, the Gophers rank third in digs (15.52). In conference matches, Minnesota ranks first in killls (18), assists (16.21) and digs (16.43) and is tied for third in blocks (2.79). Senior Cassie Busse ranks first in the conference in overall matches with .65 service aces per game and is second with 4.45 kills. Junior Trisha Bratford is sixth with 4.25 kills. Sophomore Paula Gentil leads the conference with 4.73 digs. In conference matches, Busse ranks second with 5.29 kills and Bratford is third with 5.07 kills. Gentil is first with 3.86 digs and freshman Meredith Nelson leads the conference with 1.43 blocks. Junior setter Lindsey Taatjes is averaging 12.66 assists.

Iowa-Minnesota Series: Minnesota leads the series over Iowa, 41-12. In matches played in Iowa City, the Gophers lead 17-5. Minnesota is currently on a 15-match winning streak. The last time Iowa defeated Minnesota was September 22, 1995.

The Badgers: Wisconsin, ranked 21st nationally, is 11-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play after a loss at Michigan State and a win at Michigan. In overall matches, the Badgers lead the conference with 2.11 service aces per game. In conference matches only, Wisconsin ranks second in service aces (1.67), third in hitting percentage (.261) and fifth in assists (15.22), kills (16.28) and digs (14.22). In overall matches, sophomore Sheila Shaw ranks third with .48 service aces per game and junior Jill Odenthal is tied for fifth with .41 assists. Senior Lisa Zukowski ranks sixth with 3.26 digs and senior setter Morgan Shields ranks third with 13.33 assists. In conference matches, Shields leads with 13.94 assists. Shaw and Odenthal are tied for fourth with .50 assists per game. Odenthal also leads the Badgers with 4.04 kills. Freshman Maria Carlini is averaging .80 blocks per game.

Iowa-Wisconsin Series: The Badgers lead the series over Iowa, 29-17-1. In matches played in Madison, the Badgers lead 15-8-1. Wisconsin currently holds a 16-match winning streak. Iowa’s last win was November 11, 1994. Iowa is 2-0 in matches played at the Wisconsin Field House this season with wins over Duke and North Carolina State at the InnTowner Invitational.

Hawkeyes Shut-out In Big Ten: Iowa dropped its third and fourth conference matches of the season in 3-0 losses to Illinois and Northwestern. Hitting percentage proved to be a major factor in both losses as Iowa hit at a .098 clip against Illinois and a .062 clip against the Wildcats. The losses drop Iowa to 0-4 in Big Ten competition.

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

Simpson Continues Attack: Junior Laura Simpson has continued her steady attack leading the Hawkeyes in kills over the last five matches. Simpson currently leads the Hawkeyes with 3.94 kills per game. In conference matches, Simpson is averaging 4.25 kills per game. She has led the Hawkeyes in kills in nine of 14 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 1.63 kills and 2.07 digs per game.

Digging Away: Iowa’s conference-leading 16.04 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 with 3.13 digs per game. Kavadas is averaging 2.98 digs. Each also split time in the libero position.

Giese Attacks Competition: Junior Carolyn Giese currently ranks second on the team with 3.10 kills per game. Earlier this season, Giese posted a team season best and a career-high 22 kills in Iowa’s victory over Duke.

Stach and Lingris See Time: After appearing in only one game this season, freshman Meredith Stach stepped in to collect a career-best three kills against Illinois. Stach started the match against Northwestern. Sophomore Alexa Lingris saw her first playing time over the weekend, collecting career highs against Northwestern with one service ace and nine digs.

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. Lipscomb also started against Northern Iowa but did not compete against Illinois and Northwestern due to injury.

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. The Hawkeyes have competed in two four-game matches and have a 1-1 record. Iowa has played eight three-game matches and is 2-6.

In Big Ten Rankings: The Hawkeyes lead the conference in overall matches with 16.04 digs per game. In conference matches, Iowa ranks fifth with 14.22 digs. Tiana Costanzo is 10th in overall matches with 3.13 digs per game. In conference matches she is also 10th with 2.83 digs. Junior Pam Kavadas is 13th in overall matches with 2.98 digs and ranks third in conference matches with 3.75 digs. In conference matches Laura Simpson is sixth with 4.25 kills per game.

In Iowa Rankings: Jitka Stehnova is currently fifth in Iowa’s all-time assists with 1,639. Pam Kavadas is 19th in career digs (732). Carolyn Giese is 24th in all-time attack percentage at .184 (423-206-1180).

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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