Hawkeyes To Open Season at Illinois State

Sept. 1, 2004

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This Week: The Iowa women’s volleyball team will begin its 2004 season this weekend at the Barker GMC Classic hosted by Illinois State University in Normal, IL. The Hawkeyes will face Wright State Friday at 5 p.m. Iowa will take on Denver Saturday at 10 a.m. and later that day will face host Illinois State at 7 p.m. All matches will take place at Redbird Arena. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for youth (14 and under.) 2004 Season Outlook: “Bringin’ it Home” is the theme of the 2004 season for the Hawkeye volleyball squad. Iowa’s new head coach is Cindy Fredrick, a native of Waverly. “Bringin’ It Home” not only represents Fredrick’s own personal journey back to Iowa, but also her hope to resurrect the program into a Big Ten contender. Joining Fredrick on the sidelines is Dr. Mashallah Farokhmanesh as an associate head coach and Chad Hanson as an assistant. Senior Amoreena Reynolds will also be a student assistant coach after suffering a career-ending knee injury in 2003. Senior leadership will be key on the floor in this transition year. The 2003 kill leader Laura Simpson returns at the outside hitter position; she ended the year with 409 kills and an average of 3.9 kills per game. Middle blocker Carolyn Giese is also back for 2004. She is currently 24th on Iowa’s All-Time attack percentage list with .190 (570-273-1564). Pam Kavadas, 11th on Iowa’s all-time dig list with 974, returns in the libero spot. Fredrick believes the three seniors will be crucial in this transition year and their leadership will be critical on the floor. Flexibility will be another key to a successful season as Fredrick hopes to fill positions with a variety of players. Sophomore Tiana Costanzo will be focusing on more attacking at the outside hitter position after playing considerable time at libero in 2003. Freshman Megan Gatens will be making the transition from high school to collegiate athletics at the middle blocker position. Sophomore Chelsey Garrett and junior college transfer Justeen Patton are battling for the start as setter. Fredrick says both will see playing time in the upcoming tournament. The Raiders: Friday’s match will be the first of the season for Iowa and second for Wright State, who takes on Ball State September 1. The Raiders compiled a 16-15 overall record, in 2003, and were 6-8 in the Horizon League. Wright State has just two starters returning from last year’s squad, junior setter Nicole Scheltema and senior McKenzie Tiffin. Tiffin averaged 3.39 kills per game and Scheltema averaged 12.61 assists. Iowa-Wright State Series: This is just the second time the two schools have met on the court. Iowa leads the series 1-0. The Hawkeyes defeated the Raiders, 3-0, in Iowa City in 1993. The Pioneers: Denver will have matches against Colorado and Illinois State under their belts before facing Iowa Saturday. The Pioneers return junior setter Ashly Ball who averaged 11.72 assists per game. Senior Kelli Rudelson is back at the middle blocker position and team-kill leader Lisa Hunter returns for her sophomore season. Rudelson and Hunter averaged 2.65 and 3.29 kills per game, respectively. Iowa-Denver Series: The meeting at Illinois State marks the second time these schools have met. Last year, Iowa and Denver faced each other at the Saluki/Best Inns Invite with the Pioneers winning 3-2. The Redbirds: All six starters plus the libero return for Illinois State as the Redbirds look to improve on last year’s 19-14 overall mark and 11-7 Missouri Valley record. Junior outside hitter Laura Doornbos hopes to lead the Redbird attack after averaging 4.11 kills per game in 2003. Kelly Rikli, who averaged 12.02 assists, returns at the setter position. Iowa-Illinois State Series: Illinois State leads the series 2-1, with the Hawkeyes winning their last meeting in 1989. Quoting Fredrick: “We’ve seen good improvement over the last week between scrimmages. There has been a lot of improvement in the hitting and the passing. We still have a long way, but it’s been good to see things on the right track. It’s going to be a big test for us this weekend, because the teams will be good. But it isn’t going to be quite at the level of the Big Ten. Our goal will be to have some good passing and to improve the hitting. We also want to see better communication between the front and the back row.”