Nov. 25, 2003
This Week: The Iowa volleyball team will end its season this weekend by hosting Ohio State Friday and 11th-ranked Penn State Saturday. Both competitions are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Three Hawkeyes End Careers: Saturday night’s match will mark the final collegiate match for seniors Louise Bates, Jitka Stehnova and Abby Tjaden.
The Buckeyes: Ohio State is 10-16 overall and 4-14 in conference play after losses against Penn State and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are averaging 15.84 kills, 13.82 digs and 2.59 blocks per game. Junior Stacey Gordon leads the Buckeye attack with a league leading 6.5 kills per game. She also leads Ohio State with 3.5 digs and .42 service aces per game. Senior D’wan Shackleford is averaging 1.23 blocks per game and freshman setter Briana McCarthy is averaging 11.38 assists.
Iowa-Ohio State Series: Ohio State leads the all-time series, 38-8. In matches played in Iowa City, the Buckeyes lead, 15-4. Ohio State currently holds a five-match winning streak. Earlier this year Iowa fell to the Buckeyes, 3-0, in Columbus.
The Nittany Lions: Penn State, ranked 11th, is a league-leading 26-4 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten after wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions lead the conference in hitting percentage (.279), opponent hitting percentage (.168) and blocks (3.11) and rank second in digs (16.32) and third in service aces (1.36). Senior Cara Smith leads the Big Ten, hitting at a .417 clip. Freshman Cassy Salyer leads the league with 1.41 blocks per game. Sophomore setter Sam Tortorello ranks second with 13.5 assists per game. Sophomore Kaleena Walters ranks second with 4.16 digs per game. Junior Ashley Pederson is averaging 3.93 kills and senior Cara Smith is averaging 3.9 kills. Senior Erin Iceman is averaging .31 service aces.
Iowa-Penn State Series: Iowa has never defeated Penn State as the Nittany Lions hold a 26-match winning streak. Iowa lost to Penn State, 3-0, earlier this season at University Park.
Simpson Continues Attack: Junior Laura Simpson has continued her steady attack leading the Hawkeyes in kills 13 of the last 17 matches. Simpson currently leads the Hawkeyes with 3.87 kills per game. In conference matches, Simpson is averaging 3.88 kills per game. She led the Hawkeyes in their win over Purdue with 20 kills. In Iowa’s home match against Minnesota, Simpson tied a team best with 22 kills. In Iowa’s home match against Wisconsin, Simpson registered her first double-double of the season with 13 kills and 14 digs.
Giese Attacks Competition: Junior Carolyn Giese currently ranks second on the team with 2.94 kills per game. She also ranks second on the team with .74 blocks per game. In Iowa’s win over Purdue, Giese collected 14 kills, one solo block and five block assists. Against Indiana, Giese collected 16 kills and six block assists. Earlier this season, Giese posted a career-high 22 kills in Iowa’s victory over Duke.
Tjaden Stepping Up: Abby Tjaden has started Iowa’s last seven matches. In those matches, Tjaden has averaged 2.17 kills and one block per game. Tjaden set a career-high 20 kills against Indiana.
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 for most of the season. Mech is currently averaging 1.32 kills and 1.78 digs per game.
Granger Sees Action: After competing in only one game this season, Lastascia Granger has seen playing time in Iowa’s last six matches. Granger has recorded a career-high three kills in Iowa’s last three contests.
Digging Away: Iowa currently ranks fourth in the conference with 15.77 digs per game. Junior Pam Kavadas leads Iowa with a 3.72 digs per game average.
Start Me Up: Iowa has used 19 different combinations in its starting lineup this season and 14 Hawkeyes have appeared in the starting lineup in at least one match.
Double the Fun: Senior Jitka Stehnova leads the team with nine double-doubles this season. Stehnova also leads the team with 18 service aces. Stehnova went over the 2,000 assists mark after the Purdue match and currently has 2,072 in her Iowa career.
Match Breakdown: The Hawkeyes have played five five-game matches this season. Iowa only played one five-game match last season (at Purdue 11/1/02). Iowa is 3-2 in five-game matches. The Hawkeyes have competed in four four-game matches and have a 1-3 record. Iowa has played 19 three-game matches and is 2-17.
In Big Ten Rankings: The Hawkeyes are fourth in the conference in overall matches with 15.96 digs per game. Junior Pam Kavadas is third in overall matches with 3.72 digs and ranks second in conference matches with 4.40 digs. In conference matches Laura Simpson is seventh with 3.88 kills per game.
In Iowa Rankings: Jitka Stehnova is currently fifth on Iowa’s all-time assist list with 2,072. Pam Kavadas is 11th in career digs (942). Carolyn Giese is 24th in all-time attack percentage at .187 (550-265-1521).
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.