Hawkeyes Return to North Carver

Oct. 18, 2005

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team will host a pair of Big Ten opponents this weekend, taking on No. 3 Penn State Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 20 Ohio State Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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

Weekly Press Conference ? Each week, Head Coach Cindy Fredrick will host a 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.

Mark Your Calenders ? The University of Iowa will attempt to break the team’s attendance record by hosting “Pack the Place” night when the Hawkeyes host Indiana on October 28 at 7 p.m.

“Pack the Place” coupons that reduce the price of admission to just $1 are available at the UI Athletic Ticket Office and all locations of the University of Iowa Community Credit Union.

There will be numerous promotions that night, including giving one lucky fan a chance to drive away in a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt in the “Serve an Ace” competition to be held at intermission.

Last Week ? The Hawkeyes split a pair of Big Ten road games last weekend, topping Illinois 3-0 (30-27, 30-26, 35-33) on Friday before falling to No. 21 Purdue L, 0-3 (25-30, 23-30, 23-30) on Saturday.

After falling behind early in game one at Illinois, the Hawkeyes mounted an impressive comeback to take the opener. Junior middle blocker Melanie Meister tied things up at 23-23 with an unassisted kill, then gave the Hawkeyes their first lead since 2-1 with a solo block of Illinois star hitter Rachel Van Meter. Iowa held the lead the rest of the way and ended things by forcing a pair of Illini errors.

The Hawkeyes took the game despite being out-hit .298 to .140. Iowa won the game at the line, recording four service aces to Illinois’ two, while committing just one service error compared to the Illini’s seven.

Iowa carried the momentum into game two, racing out to a 10-4 lead that forced the Fighting Illlini into a timeout. The Fighting Illini slowly clawed their way back into the game, eventually cutting the Hawkeye lead to a point at 20-19 and forcing Iowa into a timeout. Illinois tied things up immediately after the timeout, but Iowa came back to reclaim the lead and forced the Fighting Illini into a timeout of their own by stretching the lead to 25-22.

The teams went back-and-forth the rest of the way, with Iowa ending things on a block from Megan Gatens and Kiley Fister. The Hawkeyes finished game two hitting .355, one of their best performances of the season.

Game three started off as a back-and-forth affair until Illinois rattled off five-consecutive points to take a 12-7 lead and force the Hawkeyes into a timeout. Iowa came back strong after the timeout, eventually tying the game at 15-15. From that point on, the two teams traded the lead regularly. Each team fought off multiple game points before a Catherine Smale kill and an attack error by Illinois gave the Hawkeyes a 35-33 win and the match.

Things started off well for the Hawkeyes in game one against Purdue, who raced out to a 4-1 lead and held it most of the game. A Smale kill gave Iowa a 23-21 lead, but the Boilermakers rattled off four-straight points in taking their first lead of the game. Smale cut the lead to one at 25-26 with a kill, but it was as close as the Hawkeyes would get, as the Boilermakers ended the game with three straight kills. Purdue finished game one hitting a robust .359, while the Hawkeyes hit just .147.

In game two, Purdue jumped out to an early lead before the Hawkeyes clawed back to tie things up with a block by Gatens and Stacy Vitali, then took a 15-14 lead on a block from Vitali and Meister. The Boilermakers came back with five-consecutive points to take a lead they would not relinquish. Iowa managed to fight off a pair of game points before finally succumbing 30-23.

After breaking an early 5-5 tie, Purdue controlled the game the rest of the way en route to taking the match 3-0. A Laura Kremer kill combined with an Purdue attack error managed to cut the lead to three at 26-23, but it was as close as the Hawkeyes would get, as the Boilermakers scored four straight to end the match.

Road Warriors ? So far this season, Iowa has played 16-of-21 games on the road. The Hawkeyes have an 9-7 record away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The team won’t hit the road again until November 4.

Scouting Penn State ? The Penn State Nittany Lions are 17-2 on the year and a perfect 8-0 in the Big Ten Conference. They are ranked third by the AVCA.

The Nittany Lion offense has the top hitting percentage in the Big Ten at .293. The attack is led by freshman Nicole Fawcett, who has a team-best 294 kills. That total is good for fourth in the Big Ten. Sophomore Melissa Walbridge has 194 kills and is second in the conference with a .373 hitting percentage, while freshman Christa Harmotto has 191 kills and is fifth in the Big Ten with a .355 hitting percentage.

The offense is run by two-time all-America setter Sam Tortorello. She is averaging a Big Ten-best 13.34 assists per game.

On defense, defending Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Kaleena Walters leads the team with 299 digs. She became Penn State’s all-time leading digger last weekend.

The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series 28-0.

Penn State is coached by Russ Rose, who is in his 27th season.

Scouting Ohio State ? The Ohio State Buckeyes are 12-5 with a 5-3 conference mark. They are ranked 20th by the AVCA.

The Buckeye offense is led by sophomore Danielle Meyer, who is third in the conference with 4.95 kills per game (317 total). Sophomore Ami Stevens is second on the team with 203 kills.

All-America setter Marisa Main is fourth in the Big Ten in assists (12.62 per game) and hitting percentage (.357).

Ohio State leads the all-time series 41-8, and has won eight straight.

They are coached by Jim Stone, who is in his 24th year at the helm.

Raising Her Game ? Sophomore Megan Gatens has stepped up her game recently – hitting a team-best .450 last weekend. In conference play, Gatens is second on the team with a .247 attack percentage. She is averaging 1.15 kills per Big Ten game.

A Big Ten Ace ? Junior hitter Jacqueline Huguelet has 11 aces on the season – eight of which have come during Big Ten Conference play. That total leads the team.

Freshman Hitter ? Freshman outside hitter Catherine Smale leads the team with 287 kills and a 3.68 kills per game average, which is good for ninth in the Big Ten Conference.

In Big Ten play, Smale’s average jumps to 3.82 kills per game. That total is good for seventh in the conference.

Already Better Than Last Year ? The Hawkeyes have 13 wins this season, already giving them more than they had all of last year. Iowa’s 3-0 win over Illinois last Saturday gave them a 3-5 conference record, tying the number of Big Ten wins from the last two seasons combined.

Ironwomen ? Five Hawkeyes have played in all 78 games this season – Stacy Vitali, Catherine Smale, Tiana Costanzo, Kiley Fister and Emily Hiza.

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.