Hawkeyes Ready to Wrap-up Season

Nov. 21, 2005

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team will wrap-up the 2005 season with a pair of Big Ten home games this weekend. The Hawkeyes will battle No. 22 Purdue Friday at 7 p.m., then take on Illinois in the season finale Saturday at 7 p.m.

Senior Day ? Saturday’s match with Illinois will serve as Senior Day, where the Hawkeyes will honor their departing senior class of Justeen Patton and Lauren Bruckner.

Patton, who played two years at Barton Community College before coming to Iowa, has seen action in 125 games in her Hawkeye career. As a junior, she led the team with 723 assists. As a senior, Patton has served as a defensive specialist and recorded 13 service aces.

Bruckner played in 232 games during her Hawkeye career, including every game during her sophomore and junior years. This season, Bruckner missed much of the season with a wrist injury, but has returned to be a strong presence in the back row. In the 30 games she has played since returning from injury, she has 10 service aces.

Hawkeyes on the Web ? If you can’t make it to Carver Hawkeye Arena this weekend, you can still follow all of the action on www.hawkeyesports.com, where live stats will be availabl. Just click on the “gametracker” link on the schedule page.

Weekly Press Conference ? Head Coach Cindy Fredrick will not host a press conference Tuesday.

Last Week ? The Hawkeyes were swept in a pair of road games last weekend, falling 3-0 to No. 17 Ohio State and No. 2 Penn State.

Freshman Catherine Smale led the way with 15 kills against Ohio State. Melanie Meister and Laura Kremer each had eight kills on the match.

The Buckeyes raced out to a 12-5 lead in game one before Iowa mounted a spirited comeback. The Hawkeyes put together a 14-7 run, capped off by a Megan Gatens kill, to tie the game at 19-19. Ohio State came out rejuvenated after a timeout and quickly regained the lead, then went on a 7-1 run to end the game.

In game two, both teams went back-and-forth with the lead throughout the first half of the game. Ohio State looked to pull away with a 22-17 lead, but three-straight Hawkeye kills from Gatens, Meister and Kremer cut the lead to 22-20 and forced a Buckeye timeout. The Buckeyes slowly pulled away after that, eventually taking the 30-25 win.

Iowa fell behind early in game three, but Kremer served the Hawkeyes to cut the lead to 16-13. The Black and Gold hung strong the rest of the way, and tied things up at 26-26 on a Smale kill, then 28-28 on a Buckeye attack error. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as an Ami Stevens kill ended the game at 30-27.

Against Penn State, the Hawkeyes hung tough early in game one, keeping things close and taking a 7-6 lead on a kill from Smale. That woke the Nittany Lions, who proceeded to rattle off 12-consecutive points and take a commanding 18-7 lead. Penn State cruised the rest of the way to a 30-14 victory, out-hitting the Hawkeyes .719 to .189 in the game.

Iowa re-grouped for game two and kept things close most of the way. A Smale kill along with three Hawkeye blocks gave Iowa an 18-17 lead. The Nittany Lions used a kill and an ace to re-take the lead at 19-18, then slowly pulled away for a 30-24 win. During the game, Penn State lost freshman middle hitter Christa Harmotto to a knee injury. She was Penn State’s leading attacker with nine kills and a .667 hitting percentage up to that point.

In game three, Penn State controlled things from the outset, with Iowa’s last lead coming at 5-4.

Scouting Purdue ? The Purdue Boilermakers are 22-7 with a 11-7 mark in the Big Ten Conference.

Purdue’s top attacker is freshman Danita Merlau, who is eighth in the Big Ten with 3.56 kills per game. Sophomore hitter Samantha Mader is second on the team with 2.99 kills per game.

The offense is directed by two-time All-Big Ten Honorable Mention setter Renata Dargan. She is third in the Big Ten with a .365 hitting percentage and 12.70 assists per game.

The Boilermakers are dangerous from the serving line, as they lead the conference in service aces with 161 (1.56 per game).

On defense, freshman Stephanie Lynch is fifth in the conference with 1.36 blocks per game, while sophomore libero Anne Mastandrea is seventh in the Big Ten with 4.87 digs per game.

Purdue leads the all-time series 35-18 and swept the Hawkeyes earlier this season in West Lafayette.

Dave Shondell is in his third season as the head coach of the Boilermakers.

She Looks Familiar ? Sophomore Stacy Vitali should be able to supply the coaching staff with an in-depth scouting report on one of Purdue’s players – her sister Sarah is a senior middle hitter for the Boilermakers.

Scouting Illinois ? The Illinois Fighting Illini come into the week with a 15-14 overall record and a 6-12 mark in the Big Ten Conference. Illinois is on a two-game winning streak, defeating Indiana and then-No. 18 Purdue last weekend.

The Fighting Illini offense revolves around senior outside hitter Rachel VanMeter, who leads the Big Ten with a staggering 5.74 kills per game. She also has 28 service aces.

Illinois employs a pair of setters, Lizzie Bazzetta and Stephanie Obermeier. Bazzetta is putting up 8.45 assists per game, while Obermeier has recorded 8.06 per game.

The Fighting Illini lead the all-time series 38-13. Earlier this season, Iowa swept Illinois (30-27, 30-26, 35-33) in Champaign.

Illinois is coached by Don Hardin, who is in his 10th season at the helm.

Freshman Hitter ? Freshman outside hitter Catherine Smale leads the team with 412 kills and a 3.61 kills per game average, which is good for seventh in the Big Ten Conference.

Smale’s 412 kills is the most ever by a Hawkeye freshman, and more than any player since Sarah Meyermann, who had 578 as a senior in 2001.

Smale Succeeds ? Freshman outside hitter Catherine Smale raised her game against two top opponents last weekend, registering 27 kills (4.50 per game) in a pair of matches against No. 17 Ohio State and No. 2 Penn State.

For the Love of the Game ? The Hawkeyes have played more games (114) than any other team in the conference this season. Illinois is second, having played 109.

Already No. 6 ? Freshman setter Kiley Fister is already among the all-time leaders at Iowa in assists. She has 1,175 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.

This Year ? Heading into the last week of the season, the Hawkeyes have already bested many numbers from last season. Iowa has more wins (14), Big Ten wins (4), kills (1,606), assists (1,429), service aces (149) and blocks (238) than last year.

Ironwomen ? Four Hawkeyes have played in all 114 games this season – Stacy Vitali, Catherine Smale, Kiley Fister and Emily Hiza.

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 the team 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.