First Serve is Here

Aug. 21, 2006

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team will kick-off the 2006 season by welcoming Drake, Chicago State and Iowa State for the Hawkeye Challenge this weekend.

The tournament opens with Iowa State and Chicago State Friday afternoon at 4:30, followed by the Hawkeyes and Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Iowa starts the day Saturday with a 10 a.m. game against Chicago State, followed by the Cyclones and Bulldogs at noon and Drake vs. Chicago State at 5 p.m. Iowa and Iowa State will wrap things up with a 7 p.m. game Saturday.

Cy-Hawk Series ? Saturday’s game with Iowa State will be the first event in the 2006-07 Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series, the annual contest between Iowa and Iowa State for collegiate dominance in the state.

The nine-sport series awards two points (except football, which is worth three) to the winning school in each head-to-head match-up between the two institutions. Additionally, two points are awarded to an institution if the graduation rate of its student-athletes is greater than the national average as reported each fall by the NCAA.

Web Conference ? Iowa Head Coach Cindy Fredrick will be hosting a weekly “Web Conference” every Tuesday this season.She will address a variety of topics, from the state of the team to that week’s opponents.

Hawkeye fans can get in on the act and ask Coach Fredrick questions of their own by emailing them to The coach will answer as many fan questions as possible.

Looking Back ? In year two of the Cindy Fredrick era, the Hawkeyes started strong, then ran into a buzzsaw schedule during Big Ten play.

Iowa was still able to finish with a 14-19 record and a 4-16 mark in the Big Ten Conference, both improvements from the year before.

The Hawkeyes opened the season on a strong note, winning the Hawkeye Holiday Inn Challenge with wins over Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Drake. Iowa then headed to Milwaukee for the Marquette Challenge, where they fell to the host Warriors and defeated New Hampshire and IUPUI.

A trip to Texas was next, where Iowa split four games, defeating Texas Pan-American and Texas-Arlington before falling to Arkansas-Little Rock and Wake Forest.

The Hawkeyes won the Coastal Carolina Classic with wins over Coastal Carolina, North Carolina A&T and East Tennessee, pushing their record to 11-4 heading into the Big Ten season. It was the best start for an Iowa squad since 1994, when Iowa started 12-3.

The conference slate started at Northwestern, and the Hawkeyes responded with a 3-0 win. The Hawkeyes then traveled to No. 10 Wisconsin and suffered their first conference loss.

Iowa had one more non-conference game, a home match with in-state rival Northern Iowa. The Hawkeyes came ready to play and outlasted the Panthers in a thrilling five game set, including a 20-18 win in the decisive game five.

After that, the Hawkeyes ran an amazingly difficult gambit in the Big Ten Conference, which was once again one of the toughest in the nation. Iowa was able to win back-to-back road games for the first time since 2000, topping Indiana 3-1 and sweeping Illinois.

Starting Strong in 2005 ? The Hawkeyes defeated Northwestern, 3-0, in it’s Big Ten opener last season. It was the first time since 2000 Iowa opened Big Ten play with a win, and the first time in the program’s history the team has opened conference play with a sweep.

Yearly Improvement ? The 2005 Hawkeyes improved in almost every area over the Coach Fredrick’s first season at Iowa. On top of recording more wins (14) and conference wins (4), the Hawkeyes also had more kills (1,709), assists (1,527), service aces (161) and blocks (252) than the year before.

Freshman Impact ? The Hawkeyes got an amazing contribution from it’s freshman class in 2005, with three first-year players (Catherine Smale, Kiley Fister and Emily Hiza) in the starting lineup all season.

A fourth freshman, Laura Kremer, worked her way into the starting lineup by the end of the year.

Smale Succeeds ? Catherine Smale, an outside hitter, was the first Hawkeye to be named to the Big Ten all-freshman team last year. She ended with a team-best 3.61 kills per game average, and also averaged 2.56 digs per game on the defensive end.

Vitali Makes It Count ? After two years of action, junior rightside hitter Stacy Vitali is second on Iowa’s all-time attack percentage list with a .257 mark. Barb Willis (1987-90) is the Hawkeyes’ all-time leader at .260.

Fister Sets `em Up ? Sophomore setter Kiley Fister served as Iowa’s setter throughout the year and set a freshman record with 1,271 assists.

Catherine Smale was a member of the 2005 Big Ten All-Freshman Team

Smale Knocks `em Down ? Sophomore outside hitter Catherine Smale set an Iowa freshman record with 441 kills last season. That total is the highest single-season total by a Hawkeye since Sara Meyermann pounded out 578 in 2001.

Hiza Digs `em Out ? Sophomore Emily Hiza was Iowa’s libero in 2005, and set a freshman record with 472 digs. She served as Iowa’s libero for every match but one – when she started at outside hitter.

Taking Down the Panthers ? The Hawkeyes’ thrilling, five-game win over Northern Iowa was the school’s first over it’s in-state rival since 1989.

After splitting the first four games, the teams played a very dramatic deciding fifth game. Northern Iowa came out of the gates swinging and took an early 7-3 lead. The Hawkeyes came storming back behind the serving of libero Emily Hiza to tie the game at 7-7. From that point on, the two teams traded points the rest of the way, with neither team taking more than a two-point lead.

Iowa was the first team to serve a match point at 14-13, but UNI came back to tie things up. The Hawkeyes then faced elimination three times against a UNI serve, turning them back each time. With the game tied at 18-18, Iowa closed the door with back-to-back kills from Stacy Vitali and Catherine Smale.

Triple Double ? In Iowa’s win over UNI, setter Kiley Fister recorded the team’s first triple double since Fabiana de Abreu pulled the feat in 2000. The St. Charles, IL, native dished out 53 assists, pounded out 11 kills and recorded 10 digs.

Already No. 6 ? Sophomore setter Kiley Fister is already among the all-time leaders at Iowa in assists. She had 1,271 during her freshman 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.

Ironwomen ? Four Hawkeyes played in all 122 games last season – Stacy Vitali, Catherine Smale, Kiley Fister and Emily Hiza.

Take Me To Your Leader ? Senior middle blocker Melanie Meister and sophomore libero Emily Hiza 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 Katie McGuine joining the team as the Director of Volleyball Operations.

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

McGuine joins the Hawkeyes after serving as the Human Resources Manager at Cardinal of Minnesota, Ltd., in Rochester, MN. She also served as head volleyball coach at Pine Island High School during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. In 2005 and 2006 she was head coach of the 16s Southern Minnesota Volleyball Club in Rochester, MN.