Oct. 27, 2003
This Week: The Iowa women’s volleyball team (5-15) will travel to Minneapolis, MN, Wednesday to face 23rd-ranked Minnesota (15-7). Competition is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion. The Hawkeyes will then return home to face 20th-ranked Wisconsin (16-5). Competition is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Golden Gophers: Minnesota is 15-7 overall and is tied for first in the conference with an 8-2 record. In overall matches, the Gophers rank first in digs (16.04) and are third in assists (14.96) and opponent hitting percentage (.189). In conference matches, Minnesota ranks first in assists (15.39), kills (16.79), blocks (3.30) and digs (16.95). The Gophers rank second in opponent hitting percentage (.187). Senior Cassie Busse ranks second in overall matches with 4.76 kills per game and is second in conference matches with 5.39 kills. Busse is averaging a league-leading .54 service aces. Sophomore Paula Gentil leads the conference with 4.84 digs per game. Setter Lindsey Taatjes is averaging 12.70 assists and freshman Meredith Nelson is averaging 1.34 blocks.
Iowa-Minnesota Series: Minnesota leads the series over Iowa, 42-12, and is currently on a 16-match winning streak. Minnesota holds an 18-6 advantage in matches played in Minneapolis. Earlier this season, the Gophers defeated Iowa, 3-0, in Iowa City.
The Badgers: Wisconsin is 16-5 overall and is tied for first in the Big Ten with an 8-2 record. In overall matches, the Badgers lead the league with 2.01 service aces per game and rank second in hitting percentage (.270). In conference matches, Wisconsin leads the league in hitting percentage (.268) and service aces (1.75) and are second in assists (15.16) and kills (16.39). Sophomore Shelia Shaw ranks second in overall matches with .50 service aces and is first in conference matches with .52 aces per game. She also ranks fifth in conference matches with a .330 hitting percentage. Setter Morgan Sheilds leads the league with a 13.77 assist average in conference play. Junior Jill Odenthal is averaging 3.73 kills and senior Jill Maier is averaging 3.34 digs.
Iowa-Wisconsin Series: Wisconsin holds a 30-17-1 advantage over Iowa and is currently on a 17-match winning streak. In matches played in Iowa City, Wisconsin leads the series, 15-9. Earlier this season, the Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes, 3-0, in Madison.
Hawkeyes Drop Two: Iowa lost its ninth and 10th conference matches of the season with a 3-1 loss to Michigan State and a 3-0 loss to Michigan. The Hawkeyes win in the third game of the Michigan State match snapped a 29-game losing streak dating back to September 13. Iowa recorded its lowest point total of the season in game three against Michigan, losing 30-9.
Simpson Continues Attack: Junior Laura Simpson has continued her steady attack leading the Hawkeyes in kills in nine of the last 11 matches. Simpson currently leads the Hawkeyes with 4.01 kills per game. In conference matches, Simpson is averaging 4.23 kills per game. Against Minnesota, Simpson tied a team best with 22 kills. She posted 20 kills last weekend against Michigan State. Simpson has led the Hawkeyes in kills in 13 of 20 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 four matches. Mech is currently averaging 1.41 kills and 1.76 digs per game.
Giese Attacks Competition: Junior Carolyn Giese currently ranks second on the team with 3.01 kills per game. Earlier this season, Giese posted a career-high 22 kills in Iowa’s victory over Duke.
Stach Provides Impact: Freshman Meredith Stach has appeared in the starting lineup in Iowa’s last three contests. She is currently averaging 1.17 kills per game.
Digging Away: Iowa currently ranks fourth in the conference with 15.39 digs per game. Junior Pam Kavadas leads Iowa with a 3.32 digs per game average. Against Michigan State, Kavadas collected a season-best 21 digs.
Start Me Up: Iowa has used 15 different combinations in its starting lineup this season and 13 Hawkeyes have appeared in the starting lineup in at least one match.
Double the Fun: Senior Jitka Stehnova leads the team with six double-doubles this season. Stehnova also leads the team with 17 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 three four-game matches and have a 1-2 record. Iowa has played 13 three-game matches and is 2-11.
In Big Ten Rankings: The Hawkeyes are fourth in the conference in overall matches with 15.39 digs per game. Junior Pam Kavadas is tied for seventh in overall matches with 3.32 digs and ranks second in conference matches with 4.06 digs. In conference matches Laura Simpson is fifth with 4.23 kills per game.
In Iowa Rankings: Jitka Stehnova is currently fifth on Iowa’s all-time assist with 1,781. Pam Kavadas is 16th in career digs (813). Carolyn Giese is 24th in all-time attack percentage at .189 (476-225-1327).
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.