Iowa Opens Big Ten Season

Sept. 19, 2006

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team will open the 2006 Big Ten Conference season by welcoming a pair of ranked teams to North Carver – No. 2 Penn State and No. 12 Ohio State.

Iowa will battle the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten opener Friday at 7 p.m., then take on the Buckeyes Saturday at 7 p.m.

Hawkeyes on the Web ? If you can’t make it to North Carver this weekend, you can still follow all of the action on, where a live audio broadcast and livestats will be available.

Play-by-play from the voice of Iowa volleyball Brian Wilson can be found by clicking on the Hawkeye All-Access link at, then selecting the game you would like to listen to. To check out the livestats, just click on the “gametracker” link on the schedule page.

Press Conference ? University of Iowa Volleyball Coach Cindy Fredrick will host a press conference Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the Press Room at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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.

Last Week ? The Hawkeyes (11-1) won their third-straight tournament of the 2006 season, taking the title at the College of Charleston Invitational last weekend. Iowa opened with a sweep of Columbia (30-21, 30-22, 30-27), topped Eastern Michigan in four games (26-30, 30-19, 30-25, 30-27) and defeated the College of Charleston in five (27-30, 30-28, 30-27, 24-30, 15-11).

Columbia jumped out to an early 5-3 lead in game one Friday, but the Hawkeyes came roaring back to take the lead on six-consecutive points and forced the Lions into a timeout. Iowa kept the pressure on the rest of the game until Tiana Costanzo ended things at 30-21 with an ace.

The Hawkeyes led from wire-to-wire in game two, holding an 11-point lead at one point. Barcus ended things with back-to-back kills, giving Iowa the 30-22 win.

Fister served Iowa to an immediate 5-0 lead to start game three before a foot-fault gave Columbia its first side out. The Hawkeyes stretched their lead to 24-13 and looked to pull away, but the Lions wouldn’t fold and clawed back into contention. Columbia closed game two within three at 28-25, but Iowa held on for the win.

The Hawkeyes struggled in game one against Eastern Michigan Saturday, trailing most of the way and eventually losing 30-26. The loss seemed to invigorate the Black and Gold, who turned around and routed the Eagles in game two, 30-19.

Games three and four were closely contested, but the Hawkeyes held on in both to take the match.

After splitting the first four games in the championship match, Iowa jumped out to a 10-6 lead in game five, only to have College of Charleston rattle off five-consecutive points to take a 11-10 lead. After a timeout, the Hawkeyes responded in kind when senior Melanie Meister served Iowa to five-straight of their own and the victory.

All-Tournament Team ? The Hawkeyes had three players on the all-tournament team at last weekend’s College of Charleston Invitational. Senior Melanie Meister was named tournament MVP, while seniors Tiana Costanzo and Jen Barcus were named to the all-tournament team.

Big Ten Player of the Week ? Senior middle blocker Melanie Meister was named Big Ten Player of the Week Monday. Meister was named the Most Valuable Player for the second-straight tournament, after hitting .385 for the weekend at the College of Charleston Invitational. The Hawkeye senior had her best match of the weekend against Eastern Michigan when she posted 21 kills, a career-high seven digs and hit at a .528 clip.

Hot Start ? At 11-1, the Hawkeyes are off to their best start in the history of the program. Iowa had started the 1986 season 11-2.

Scouting Penn State ? The defending Big Ten Champion Penn State Nittnay Lions are 11-0 and ranked No. 2 by the AVCA. They host Ohio State Wednesday night in State College, PA.

As a team, Penn State has a .364 attack percentage. Four players are ranked in the top 10 in the conference for attack percentage, with 2005 AVCA National Freshman of the Year Christa Harmotto leading the way at .489. All-American Nicole Fawcett is the team’s leading hitter with 4.42 kills per game.

On defense, Penn State leads the conference by holding opponents to a .082 hitting percentage. They also lead the Big Ten in blocks with 3.78 per game. Individually, all-American Melissa Walbridge leads the conference with 1.76 blocks per game.

Penn State is coached by Russ Rose, who is in his 28th season. The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series 30-0.

Scouting Ohio State ? The Ohio State Buckeyes enter the week 10-0 and are ranked 15th by the AVCA. They will play Penn State Wednesday night in State College, PA.

The Buckeyes lead the conference in team hitting percentage (.381) and are third in kills with 16.38 per game.

All-American Daniell Meyer leads the Big Ten with 5.16 kills per game and has a .377 attack percentage. Freshman middle hitter Meghan Simons is second in the Big Ten with a .457 attack percentage.

The offense is run by two-time all-American setter Marisa Main, who is averaging 13.00 assists per game.

Ohio State is coached by Jim Stone, who is in his 25th year. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 43-8, and have won the last 10 meetings.

Big Ten Success ? For the first time since the 1998 season, all 11 Big Ten teams will enter conference play with an overall winning percentage of .600 or better. That year only one team began Big Ten play with an undefeated overall record and only three hovered above the .900 mark. This season, three conference squads are undefeated and an astounding seven teams enter the week with a winning percentage better than .900. In addition, the 2006 campaign also marks the first time since 2004 that all 11 conference teams have entered Big Ten play with a record of .500 or better.

Dig `em Up ? Sophomore libero Emily Hiza is fourth in the Big Ten with 4.74 digs per game. As a team, the Hawkeyes are second in the conference with 17.53 digs per game.

Smale Sits ? Sophomore Catherine Smale saw limited action last weekend in South Carolina after sustaining an ankle injury during the week. Smale sat out the Columbia game, and was regulated to back-row duty for Iowa’s final two games.

Smale is expected back this weekend for the Big Ten opener.

Strong Up the Middle ? Iowa’s starting middle blockers are both having great seasons, giving the Hawkeyes a strong presence in the middle. Senior Melanie Meister leads the team with 3.28 kills per game and a .333 attack percentage, while senior Jen Barcus is averaging 2.89 kills per game and a team-best 1.19 blocks per game. She is hitting at a .329 clip.

Already No. 6 ? Sophomore setter Kiley Fister is already among the all-time leaders at Iowa in assists. She has 1,810, 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.

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.