Hawkeyes to Host Four Games This Week

Sept. 13, 2004

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This Week: After two consecutive road trips to pre-conference tournaments, the Iowa volleyball team is anxious to play at home in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawks host four matches this week and all are against new opponents. On Tuesday, the Creighton Bulldogs make the trip across Interstate-80 for a 7 p.m. contest. This weekend Iowa hosts the Holiday Inn-Hawkeye Challenge that features Furman, Chicago State and Eastern Washington University.

Last Week: Iowa traveled to Beaumont, TX, to compete in the Lamar Cardinal Classic. The Hawkeyes were the “champions” of the Classic after compiling a 4-0 record. Iowa garnered wins over Georgia State (3-2) and Weber State (3-1). Coach Cindy Fredrick’s squad then defeated Grambling State and host Lamar in three games. Outside hitter Tiana Costanzo was the Classic’s MVP. Senior Carolyn Giese and freshman Stacy Vitali were also named to the all-tournament squad. Vitali, an outside hitter, had a breakout weekend for Iowa, compiling 57 kills in four matches. Iowa is now 6-1. The last time the Hawkeyes started a season this successful was in 1994 when they began 12-1.

The Bulldogs: Creighton Coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth boasts an experienced squad with ten letterwinners and five starters. Senior middle blockers Ashley Williams (2.78 kills and 1.48 blocks per game) and Sarah Beulke (2.06 kill per game) are back for the Bulldogs as well as setter Brittany Coleman. Coleman, who was part of the Missouri Valley all-Freshmen Team, averaged 11.71 assists per game and 2.53 digs in 2003. The Bulldogs also bring a 6-1 record into the tilt. That includes a sweep at the Tiger Invitational that featured an upset win over host Missouri.

Iowa-Creighton Series: Tuesday’s meeting is the first between the Hawkeyes and Bulldogs.

The Eagles: Eastern Washington won the 2002 and 2003 Big Sky Conference title.They have to overcome the loss of seven letterwinners from last year’s squad, including two all-conference selections. Head Coach Wade Benson’s team will rely heavily on four transfers and returning Eagles, Keva Sonderen and Megan Kitterman. Both middle blockers averaged over three kills a game in 2003; Sonderen had 339 kills for an average of 3.14 per game and Kitterman had 354 kills (3.31).

Iowa-Eastern Washington Series: This is the first contest between the two schools.

The Paladins: Coach Michelle Young and her Furman squad take a 3-4 record into the Holiday Inn-Hawkeye Challenge. The Paladins lost their season opener to Lamar, the same team Iowa defeated last weekend. Furman feature a young roster with only three returning starters. Senior Julia Fredrickson, 5′ 10″ middle blocker, had 344 kills for a 2.92 per game average. She was voted onto the Southern Conference’s pre-season all-league team.

Iowa-Furman Series: This is the first meeting between the Hawkeyes and the Paladins.

The Cougars: Chicago State looks to improve on last season’s 8-22 record with the help of several returning starters. Coach Heidi Cartisser will look to senior Stacey Cole, a 6-0 outside hitter and first-team all-Midland Conference selection, to help lead her team. Chicago State has compiled 5-3 record, including four wins last weekend. They face Illinois-Chicago Tuesday before competing in the Holiday Inn-Hawkeye Challenge Friday.

Iowa-Chicago State Series: This is the first meeting between the Hawkeyes and the Paladins.

In Fredrick’s words: “Creighton will be the toughest opponent we have faced. Their play is similar to Illinois State’s in that they have good middle hitters that transition well. That could pose problems for us. Their setter also moves the ball around well. We need to concentrate on blocking and serving tough.

“We’re excited to be playing at home this week. But, it was good for the girls to establish themselves away from the pressure of home matches. The competition in this tournament will be well balanced. We will face some stiff competition. Also, being from the Northwest, I know Eastern Washington will pose a tough challenge.”