Hawkeyes to Face No. 13 Penn State and Ohio State

Oct. 13, 2003

This Week: The Iowa women’s volleyball team (5-11) will travel to University Park, PA, Friday evening to face 13th-ranked Penn State (16-2). Competition is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. (CT) at Rec Hall. The Hawkeyes will then have a day off before traveling to Columbus, OH, for a match with Ohio State (7-7). Competition is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (CT) at St. John Arena.

The Nittany Lions: Penn State is 16-2 overall and 5-1 in conference play after suffering its first Big Ten loss at Illinois last Friday. The Nittany Lions rebounded by defeating Northwestern. In overall matches Penn State leads the conference in hitting percentage (.292) and blocks (3.07), ranks second in opponent hitting percentage (.173), ranks third in kills (16.57) and assists (15.09) and is fourth in service aces (1.43) and digs (15.26). In conference matches only, the Nittany Lions rank third in hitting percentage (.257) and opponent hitting percentage (.201). Senior Cara Smith leads the conference in overall matches with a .450 hitting percentage. She also ranks sixth with 4.22 kills. Freshman Cassy Salyer leads the conference in overall matches with 1.48 blocks. Sophomore setter Sam Tortorello is first with 13.55 assists. Sophomore Kaleena Walters ranks second in overall matches with 3.85 digs.

Iowa-Penn State Series: Iowa has never beaten Penn State as the Nittany Lions hold a 25-0 advantage. In matches at University Park, the Nittany Lions are 11-0.

The Buckeyes: Ohio State is 7-7 overall and 1-5 in conference play after losses at Northwestern and Illinois. In overall matches, the Buckeyes rank fourth in the conference with 2.87 blocks. Junior Stacey Gordon leads the conference with 6.27 kills and ranks third with 3.47 digs. She also ranks fifth with .40 service aces per game. Senior D’wan Shackelford is tied for third with 1.4 blocks per game. Freshman setter Briana McCarthy is averaging 10.73 assists per game.

Iowa-Ohio State Series: Ohio State leads the series, 37-8. In matches played in Columbus, the Buckeyes hold a 19-4 advantage. Ohio State is currently on a four-match winning streak.

Iowa Looks to Stop Streak: The Hawkeyes are currently on a seven-match losing streak in which they have not won a game. The last time Iowa won a game was September 13 when it defeated North Carolina State (3-0) at the InnTowner Invitational in the Wisconsin Field House.

Iowa Swept by Badgers: Iowa lost its 11th match of the season in a 3-0 loss to then 21st-ranked Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes were out-hit .252-.067 and committed 30 attack errors. Junior Laura Simpson posted a team-high 14 kills. Junior Pam Kavadas led Iowa with 19 digs.

Costanzo Returns to Lineup: After missing Iowa’s three previous matches due to injury, freshman Tiana Costanzo returned to the lineup against Wisconsin to record four kills and six digs.

Hawkeyes Fall to Minnesota: The Hawkeyes dropped a 3-0 contest to Minnesota last Wednesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa registered 47 kills, 44 assists, 35 digs and two total team blocks compared to the Gophers’ 51 kills, 45 assists, 48 digs and 13 blocks. Hitting percentage proved to be a factor as Iowa was out-hit .412-.197.

Simpson Continues Attack: Junior Laura Simpson has continued her steady attack leading the Hawkeyes in kills over the last seven matches. Simpson currently leads the Hawkeyes with 4.16 kills per game. In conference matches, Simpson is averaging 4.83 kills per game. Against Minnesota, Simpson tied a team best with 22 kills. She has led the Hawkeyes in kills in 11 of 16 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 1.54 kills and 1.87 digs per game.

Digging Away: Iowa currently ranks second in the conference with 15.81 digs per game.

Giese Attacks Competition: Junior Carolyn Giese currently ranks second on the team with 3.05 kills per game. Earlier this season, Giese posted a career-high 22 kills in Iowa’s victory over Duke.

Start Me Up: Iowa has used 12 different combinations in its starting lineup this season and 13 Hawkeyes have appeared in the starting lineup in at least one match.

Huguelet Makes First Start: Freshman Jacqueline Huguelet earned her first collegiate start in Iowa’s match with Minnesota. Huguelet recorded a career-high two digs.

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 last weekend, collecting career highs against Northwestern with one service ace and nine digs. She also competed in Iowa’s match with Minnesota.

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 has not seen playing time in the last four matches due to injury.

Double the Fun: Senior Jitka Stehnova leads the team with five double-doubles this season. Stehnova also leads the team with 15 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 10 three-game matches and is 2-8.

In Big Ten Rankings: The Hawkeyes are second in the conference in overall matches with 15.81 digs per game. In conference matches, Iowa ranks sixth with 14.11 digs. Pam Kavadas is 10th in overall matches with 3.12 digs and ranks second in conference matches with 3.94 digs. Tiana Costanzo is 12th in overall matches with 3.06 digs per game. In conference matches Laura Simpson is third with 4.83 kills per game.

In Iowa Rankings: Jitka Stehnova is currently fifth in Iowa’s all-time assists with 1,708. Pam Kavadas is 18th in career digs (758). Carolyn Giese is 24th in all-time attack percentage at .187 (439-212-1215).

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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