Hawkeyes Ready to Start Season

Aug. 22, 2005


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This Week – The University of Iowa volleyball team will kick off the 2005 season by hosting the Hawkeye Holiday Inn Challenge August 26-27. The Hawkeyes will welcome the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers and the Drake Bulldogs.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Drake will open the tournament with a Friday night game at 7 p.m. Iowa will take the court for the first time Saturday at Noon, when the Hawkeyes battle Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Coach Cindy Fredrick’s team will then close out the tournament with a game against in-state rival Drake at 7 p.m.

Weekly Press Conference – Starting September 30, Head Coach Cindy Fredrick will be hosting a weekly press conference Tuesdays from 11:45-12:15 p.m. at the Iowa Football Complex. The press conference will precede Iowa Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz’s weekly press gathering.

2004 in Review – If you just look at the overall record of the 2004 Iowa volleyball season, it may appear to be a disappointment. However, if you look a little deeper you can see the beginnings of what hopes to be a very formidable program someday soon.

In her first year at the helm, Hawkeye coach Cindy Fredrick guided her team to a 10-22 record. It was the first time Iowa hit double-digits in wins since 2000.

Goal No. 1 for Coach Fredrick and her staff last season was to install a winning attitude within the team. That new attitude was evident as the Hawkeyes jumped out to an 8-3 start during the non-conference season, their best since 1994.

After that, the Hawkeyes had to not only battle a brutal conference schedule, but a wave of mononucleosis that swept through the team.

The depleted Hawkeyes picked up just two wins the rest of the way, defeating Michigan State 3-1 and Indiana in a five-game match, 3-2.

Last Year’s Challenge –The Hawkeyes placed second in last year’s Hawkeye Challenge, winning two of three matches. Iowa fell to Eastern Washington in the opener (1-3) before coming back to sweep Furman and Chicago State.

Iowa Tournament History – The Hawkeyes have hosted 20 tournaments in their history, winning ten and taking second in five. Overall, Iowa has a 50-14-1 record in its home tournaments, including a 34-1 mark in tournaments they won and 16-13-1 in tournaments they placed second or lower.

The Hawkeyes’ last win in their home tournament was in 2000.

Scouting Drake – The Drake Bulldogs are coming off a season in which they went 3-26 with a 1-17 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

At the helm of the Bulldogs is first-year coach Amy Faber Knowles, who comes to Des Moines after a successful seven-year run at Oral Roberts. She led the Golden Eagles to six-consecutive Mid-Continent Conference Championships.

The Bulldogs return their top five attackers from last season, led by Lindsey Johnson with 285 kills.

Iowa leads the all-time series with Drake 18-11-1 and has won 15 of the last 16 meetings.

Scouting Wisconsin-Milwaukee – The Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers enter the 2005 season coming off back-to-back Horizon League Championships. Last season, they were 19-8 overall with a 13-1 conference mark.

The Panthers were recently picked as the favorite for this year’s Horizon League crown by the conference’s coaches. Milwaukee-Wisconsin returns six-of-seven starters and 12-of-13 letterwinners from last year’s team.

All-Horizon League setter Melissa Lange and 2004 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year Leanne Felsing lead the way for the Panthers.

The team is coached by Kathy Litzau, who is in her 13th season with Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Iowa leads the all-time series 3-0. The two teams have met in the Hawkeye Challenge once, with Iowa winning 3-0 in 1992.

Killing Them Softly – The Hawkeyes’ top returning attacker is sophomore Stacy Vitali, who was second on last year’s team with 260 kills. In her first season with the Black and Gold, Vitali saw action in 83 games and hit at a .234 clip.

Keep Pounding Away – Iowa Junior Tiana Costanzo led the Hawkeyes last year with 922 total attacks. The Escondido, CA, native recorded 259 kills and hit at a .121 clip.

Ranked Recruits – The Hawkeye freshman class is one of the most accomplished recruiting classes Iowa has ever brought in, and they were ranked 30th in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. It is the fifth-ranked class in the Big Ten behind Penn State (No. 2 nationally), Minnesota (No. 4), Purdue (No. 6) and Wisconsin (No. 17). Stanford has the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class.

The class consists of Laura Kremer, Catherine Smale, Kiley Fister, Emily Hiza, Felicia Booth, Laura Gustin and Mary Puck.

Prep All-Americans – Three members of the Hawkeye freshman class were named high school all-Americans by PrepVolleyball.com. Kiley Fister, Catherine Smale and Emily Hiza were all honored by the website.

Mama I’m Comin’ Home – After playing for two years at Cal-State Fullerton, Melanie Meister returns to her home state to compete for the Hawkeyes.

A West Des Moines native, Meister joined the Hawkeyes during the second semester last year and practiced with the team during the spring season.

Take Me To Your Leader – Junior middle blocker Melanie Meister and junior outside hitter Tiana Costanzo will be the Hawkeye captains this season.

Iron Women – Three Hawkeyes played in all 108 games last season. Tiana Costanzo and Lauren Bruckner both return after playing in every game last year, as did graduated senior Pam Kavadas.

Dig Dug – The Hawkeyes will have some big shoes to fill at libero, where Pam Kavadas led the team in digs for three-straight years. Kavadas was third in the Big Ten last season with 5.22 digs per game and ended up third on the Iowa all-time charts with 1,536 in her career.

Freshman Emily Hiza and senior Lauren Bruckner will hold down the libero spot this season. Hiza was a prep all-American at Swink High School in Colorado, while Bruckner recorded 251 digs for the Hawkeyes last season.

Serve It Up – Junior Tiana Costanzo is the top returning server for the Hawkeyes this season. Last year, she was second with 27 service aces – just one behind team leader Pam Kavadas. She committed just 14 service errors.

The Assistant Coaches – Dr. Mashallah (Farokh) Farokhmanesh and Chad Hanson will serve as assistants to Head Coach Cindy Fredrick again this season. Farokh, the associate head coach, is the husband of Coach Fredrick.

Welcome Aboard – The Hawkeye coaching staff has a new addition this year with DeAnn Woodin joining up as the programs first Director of Volleyball Operations.

Woodin will work closely with the Hawkeye volleyball staff, helping coordinate and carry out the day-to-day activities in the program.

She joins the staff after a successful run as the head coach at Kirkwood Community College. In her two seasons at the helm, she led Kirkwood to a 81-25 record, two undefeated conference seasons and the school’s first-ever NJCAA Division II National Championship in 2003.