Hawkeyes Ready For Tough Road Test

Nov. 15, 2005

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team will take its final road trip of the 2005 season this weekend – traveling to Columbus, OH, for a Friday game with No. 17 Ohio State (6 p.m.) and a Saturday game at No. 2 Penn State (7 p.m.). All times are CST.

Time Change ? Saturday’s match with Penn State was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. (CST), but due to the Nittany Lions’ football game against Michigan State that day, the volleyball match was bumped back an hour.

Hawkeyes on the Web ? If you can’t make the road trip 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.

Last Week ? The Hawkeyes were swept in a pair of home games last weekend, falling 3-0 to No. 13 Wisconsin and Northwestern.

Against the Badgers, Iowa lost by scores of 30-20, 30-28 and 30-23. The Hawkeyes had a hard time containing senior all-American middle blocker Sheila Shaw, who led all hitters with 16 kills and a .517 attack percentage.

For Iowa, freshman Catherine Smale had a team-high 11 kills, while sophomore Megan Gatens had six kills and a .400 attack percentage.

Freshman setter Kiley Fister had a solid game, putting up 33 assists to go with her 15 digs and six kills. Libero Emily Hiza led the team with 18 digs.

The Badgers led wire-to-wire in game one, cruising to the 30-20 win.

In game two, the Hawkeyes hung tough and tied the game at 19-19 on a Hiza service ace. That sparked five unanswered points for Iowa, who took a 24-19 lead. Unfortunately for Iowa it didn’t last, as the Badgers clawed back to tie the game at 26-26 and eventually edge the Hawkeyes 30-28.

Game three was like game one, with the Badgers jumping out to an early lead and holding it through the finish.

Against Northwestern, the Hawkeyes fell by scores of 30-21, 30-20 and 30-23.

Iowa struggled with its attack all night, hitting just .015 for the match. Sophomore hitter Stacy Vitali had a team-high eight kills for the Hawkeyes.

For Northwestern, Lindsay Anderson had a game-high 15 kills, while Brittney Aldridge had 11 kills and hit at a .421 clip.

Game one was close early, and a Gatens kill gave Iowa a 8-7 lead. Northwestern then scored 10 of the next 12 points to capture a commanding 17-10 lead and cruised to the win.

In game two, the Wildcats led from wire-to-wire, allowing Iowa just one tie at 1-1. They out-hit the Hawkeyes .441 to .116 in the game.

In the final game, Iowa once again kept things close early and earned a 10-10 tie. The Wildcats began to pull away, but the Hawkeyes managed to come within two at 20-18 before Northwestern went on a run that ended the match.

Scouting Ohio State ? The Ohio State Buckeyes are 18-7 on the season and tied with Minnesota and Wisconsin for second in the Big Ten at 11-5. They are ranked 17th by the AVCA.

The Buckeye attack is led by a pair of sophomores, middle blocker Danielle Meyer and outside hitter Ami Stevens. Meyer is third in the conference with 4.67 kills per game, while Stevens is ninth with 3.56.

All-American setter Marisa Main runs the offense for Ohio State and is second in the Big Ten with a .375 hitting percentage and fifth with 12.60 assists per game.

Ohio State leads the all-time series 42-8 and has won the last nine meetings. Earlier this season, the Buckeyes defeated the Hawkeyes 3-1 in Carver Hawkeye Arena.

Ohio State is coached by Jim Stone, who is in his 24th season.

Scouting Penn State ? The second-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions are 25-2 and on top of the Big Ten Conference with a perfect 16-0 mark. Last weekend, Penn State clinched the 2005 Big Ten Championship with a win over Illinois.

Penn State has three players ranked in the top six of the Big Ten in hitting percentage. Sophomore Melissa Walbridge leads the conference at .403, freshman Christa Harmotta is third at .358, while junior Cassy Salyer is sixth at .334.

Freshman Nicole Fawcett is the team’s leading killer with 4.43 per game. That total is good for fourth in the conference.

Two-time all-American setter Sam Tortorello leads the conference with 13.33 assists per game.

On defense, Harmotto and Walbridge both rank in the top four in blocks. Harmotta is second in the Big Ten with 1.52 per game, while Walbridge is fourth with 1.38 per game.

Penn State leads the all-time series with the Hawkeyes 28-0. Earlier this season, the Nittany Lions swept Iowa in Carver Hawkeye Arena, 3-0.

Penn State is coached by Russ Rose, who is in his 27th year at the helm.

Top Competition ? Iowa’s two opponents this weekend are ranked 1-2 in the Big Ten Conference in hitting percentage and assists. Penn State leads the conference with a .302 team hitting percentage, while Ohio State is second at .259. In assists, the Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with 15.42 per game, while the Nittany Lions are second with 15.19.

For the Love of the Game ? The Hawkeyes have played more games (108) than any other team in the conference this season. Illinois and Indiana have all played 101.

The Puck Stops Here ? Freshman Mary Puck made her first appearance in Carver Hawkeye Arena last Saturday against Northwestern when she started game three. The Manning, IA, native picked up a pair of kills, two digs and a block assist.

Move to the Outside ? Freshman Laura Kremer moved from middle blocker to outside hitter last weekend. She had six kills and a pair of digs against No. 13 Wisconsin.

Gatens Against the Badgers ? Sophomore middle blocker Megan Gatens brought her best when lining up against the Badgers. The Iowa City native has recorded a .400 hitting percentage in each match against Wisconsin this year.

Already No. 6 ? Freshman setter Kiley Fister is already among the all-time leaders at Iowa in assists. She has 1,119 so far this season, good for sixth on the Hawkeyes’ all-time list. Jitka Stehnova (2002-03) is in fifth with 2,159.

Janet Moylan (1987-90) is Iowa’s all-time leader with 5,471.

Freshman Hitter ? Freshman outside hitter Catherine Smale leads the team with 385 kills and a 3.56 kills per game average, which is good for eighth in the Big Ten Conference.

This Year ? The Hawkeyes have already bested many numbers from last season’s team. Iowa has more wins (14), Big Ten wins (4), kills (1,531), assists (1,362) and blocks (229.5) that they did last year – and there is still two weeks left in the season.

Ironwomen ? Four Hawkeyes have played in all 108 games this season – Stacy Vitali, Catherine Smale, Kiley Fister and Emily Hiza.