Iowa faces #2 Minnesota and #23 Illinois at home

Oct. 12, 2004

This Week: The Hawkeyes (9-6, 1-3) are home this week against Minnesota (16-2, 5-1) on Wednesday and Illinois (12-3, 4-2) Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Both opponents made it to the 2003 NCAA tournament. Live statistics and updates of all home matches can be found on the volleyball results page at under Gametracker.

Last Week: Iowa struggled in action last week against Northern Iowa and Northwestern and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes lost in four games to the Panthers in Cedar Falls. The loss to Northwestern was a five game marathon and to Wisconsin in three straight.

The Gophers: Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert is in his ninth season at the helm. Herbert and his squad are trying to repeat what they accomplished in 2003 when they advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. Senior Erin Martin (from Ames, Iowa) leads the Gophers with 5.21 kills per game and a total of 349 on the season. Lindsey Taatjes and Kelly Bowman share setting duties with 9.21 and 6.21 assists, respectively. Meredith Nelson is the leading blocker with 0.92 rejections per game. Paula Gentil has 437 digs this season and an average of 6.52 digs per game.

Iowa-Minnesota Series: The Gophers lead the series 52-21. Minnesota defeated Iowa in their last meeting. The Hawkeyes last win in the series came in 1995.

The Fighting Illini: Don Hardin is in his ninth season as head coach Illinois. Last year, Hardin led his squad to a 26-7 record and an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Junior Rachel VanMeter leads the Illini attack with 234 kills, for an average of 4.18 per game. Since the injury of starting setter Erin Virtue, Stephanie Obermeier has averaged 13.52 assists per game. Meg Griffin and Jen Hynds are the top blockers for Illinois with 1.17 and 1.12 blockers per game, respectively. Four Illini average over two digs per game, with Lauren Harks leading the defensive effort with 2.82 digs per game.

Iowa-Illinois Series: The Fighting Illinois hold a 36-12 advantage in the series. Illinois won the last meeting in 2003. Iowa last defeated Illinois in 2002.

In Fredrick’s words: “Minnesota has a very strong, athletic team and they are very talented. We are working really hard right now on regrouping as a team and pulling things back together. I just want to see us play a competitive match against them.

“It’s important that we put together all of our skills in a match. We have some matches where we don’t hit or block well, but we play well defensively and serving. All of our players have to put everything together.

“Illinois struggled a bit with the loss Erin Viritue, their starting setter, but the hitters have really regrouped and now they’re on a roll again. Again, we just need to put everything together to be successful.”

Making History: Senior libero Pam Kavadas has 336 digs this season for a career total of 1,598. That’s good enough for third on Iowa’s all-time dig list. Janet Moylan (1987-1990) is Iowa’s all-time dig leader with 1,931. Kavadas averages 5.29 digs per game, which is fourth best in the Big Ten this season. Overall, Kavadas is third with an average of 5.25 digs per game.

Fellow senior Carolyn Giese is also chasing the record books. Giese has 219 kills this season for Iowa, a team leading 3.42 kills per game. For her career, Giese has 789 kills out of 2,071 attempts. Her attacking percentage is .209, which puts her at number 17 on the Iowa all-time attack percentage list.

Big Ten News: The Hawks are fifth in the league digs category. Iowa is averaging 16.48 digs per game in the league. Minnesota is first with 20.86.

Iowa is fourth in the Big Ten with service aces. The Hawks average 1.14 aces per game. Lauren Bruckner is third in Big Ten matches only, with eight aces, for an average of 0.38. Counting all matches, Pam Kavadas is eighth with 21 aces this season, for an average of 0.33 per game.