Hawkeyes Return Home

Sept. 26, 2005

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team will play a trio of games this week. The Hawkeyes host in-state rival Northern Iowa Tuesday at 7 p.m., then welcome Big Ten Conference foes Michigan and Michigan State over the weekend. Iowa will play the Wolverines Friday at 7 p.m., then battle the Spartans Saturday at 7 p.m.

Hawkeyes on the Web ? If you can’t make it out to Carver-Hawkeye Arena this week, you can still follow all of the action on www.Hawkeyesports.com, where live stats will be available for every home game this season. Just click on the “gametracker” link on the schedule page.

Weekly Press Conference ? Each week, Head Coach Cindy Fredrick will host a weekly press conference Tuesday from 11:45-12:15 p.m. at the Iowa Football Complex. The press conference precedes Iowa Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz’s weekly press gathering.

Last Week ? The Hawkeyes split a pair of Big Ten road games last weekend, defeating Northwestern 3-0 in the opener Friday before losing to No. 10 Wisconsin 3-0 on Sunday.

Against Northwestern, freshman outside hitter Catherine Smale led the way, recording 19 kills and hitting at a .429 clip for the game. Sophomore outside hitter Stacy Vitali hit a team-best .519 and had 15 kills.

After going down 0-1 on the first serve in game one, Iowa tied things up with a Smale kill and never looked back. The freshman outside hitter was a force for the Hawkeyes, pounding out nine kills and hitting .438 for the game.

Iowa controlled the game from the outset, but every time they looked to put the Wildcats away, Northwestern would mount a comeback. The Hawkeyes never allowed the Wildcats to come within less than two, however, and sealed the game with a kill from Smale.

In game two, the Hawkeyes took an early lead, only to have Northwestern come storming back to take an 12-11 lead. Iowa remained close, and a block by Smale and Melanie Meister gave the Hawkeyes a 20-19 lead. Once again, Northwestern came back to gain a 23-22 advantage, but three-consecutive Wildcat errors gave Iowa a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The Hawkeyes went on a 7-2 run to end the game and take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Game three was a back-and-forth battle with the teams trading the lead most of the game. Iowa managed to take a 29-25 advantage on a Northwestern service error, but the Wildcats fought off three game-points before finally succumbing.

Game one against Wisconsin was a tight battle that saw both teams run neck and neck the whole way. Wisconsin took an early led, but Iowa wouldn’t let them pull away, and eventually tied the game at 28-28. The Badgers rattled off a pair of kills to seal the game.

Iowa hit well in game one, recording a .333 team attack percentage. Individually, Smale had a team best seven kills and .700 hitting percentage. Vitali had six kills and a .600 percentage. She ended the match with a team-best 12 kills.

Wisconsin carried the momentum from game one win into the second game and jumped out to an early 8-4 lead. The Hawkeyes managed to claw back to get the score within two, but the Badgers pulled away after that to take the 30-17 win.

In game three, Wisconsin closed the door on the Hawkeyes with a 30-21 win. Iowa fell in an early hole and the Badgers wouldn’t let them out.

Back at Home ? The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena after a monster road trip that saw the team play 12-consecutive road matches. The last time Iowa played at home was August 27 against Drake.

Scouting Northern Iowa ? The Northern Iowa Panthers come into Tuesday’s game with a 10-4 record and a perfect 4-0 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference. UNI has won its last four games.

The Panther attack spreads the ball around well, with five players having over 100 kills. The offense is led by Laura Rowen, who has a team-best 187 kills. She also has 152 digs on the year.

Kristen Belzug is the team’s primary setter, and has 496 assists on the year.

Northern Iowa leads the all-time series 26-21, and holds a 10-match winning streak over the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s last win over Northern Iowa was in 1988.

The Panthers are coached by Bobbi Peterson, who is in her sixth season.

Scouting Michigan ? The Michigan Wolverines are 7-4 on the year and 1-1 in the Big Ten.

The Wolverine’s leading hitter is sophomore Katie Bruzdinski, who has 169 kills and is fifth in the Big Ten with 4.12 kills per game. She also has 18 service aces. On defense, Lindsay Miller is sixth in the conference with 1.41 blocks per game, while libero Stesha Selsky is fourth in the Big Ten with 5.05 digs per game.

Iowa leads the all-time series with Michigan 24-23, but the Wolverines have won the last eight matches.

Michigan is coached by Mark Rosen, who is in his seventh year with the Wolverines.

Scouting Michigan State ? The Michigan State Spartans come into the weekend with an 8-4 record and a 1-1 mark in the Big Ten.

Sophomore Katie Johnson leads the Spartan attack and is second in the Big Ten with 273 kills and a 5.81 per game average. Senior setter Mickey Davis leads the conference with 621 assists and a 13.21 assist per game average.

Michigan State leads the all-time series 26-22. The two teams split a pair of matches last season.

The Spartans are coached by Cathy George, who is in her first year.

Opening With a Sweep ? Iowa’s 3-0 win over Northwestern last weekend was the first time in the history of the program that the Hawkeyes won their first Big Ten match of the season with a three-game sweep.

Opening With a Win ? The Hawkeyes’ Big Ten opening win over Northwestern was the first time Iowa kicked off conference play 1-0 since 2000.

Stepping Up in the Big Ten ? Sophomore outside hitter Stacy Vitali elevated her game in the first weekend of conference play, and is third in the league with a .400 hitting percentage during the opening weekend. The sophomore had 27 kills and just five errors against Northwestern and Wisconsin.

Offense and Defense ? Junior outside hitter Tiana Costanzo is a dual threat for the Hawkeyes who doesn’t leave the court often during the course of a game. She is third on the team with 145 kills and second with 167 digs.

Freshman Masher ? Freshman outside hitter Catherine Smale leads the team with 188 kills. Her 3.69 kills per game average is good for tenth in the Big Ten.

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.

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

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.