Hawkeyes Hit the Road

Sept. 25, 2006

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team make its first Big Ten road trip of the season, heading to Northwestern and Illinois this weekend.

Iowa will battle the Wildcats Friday at 7 p.m. in Evanston, IL, then take on the Fighting Illini Saturday at 7 p.m. in Champaign.

Hawkeyes on the Web ? If you can’t make the road trip this weekend, you can still follow all of the action on hawkeyesports.com, where a live audio broadcast and livestats will be available.

Play-by-play from former Iowa player Barb (Willis) Randall can be found by clicking on the Hawkeye All-Access link at hawkeyesports.com, 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.

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 AskCoachFredrick@yahoo.com. The coach will answer as many fan questions as possible.

Big Ten Season Preview ? Hawkeye fans can check out what Iowa Head Coach Cindy Fredrick, senior Melanie Meister, sophomore Emily Hiza and freshman Allison Smith, think about the new Big Ten volleyball season on the Big Ten Season Preview video available on hawkeyesports.com. Just go to Hawkeye All-Access, click on “all sports”, select volleyball and feature to view the show.

Last Week ? The Hawkeyes faced some tough competition in their opening Big Ten weekend, falling to No. 2 Penn State (3-0) and No. 12 Ohio State (3-1).

In game one against the Nittany Lions, Iowa showed it wasn’t going to be intimidated by Penn State’s ranking and undefeated record (13-0), keeping the game close early. A Melanie Meister kill cut the Nittany Lion lead to 12-11 before Penn State began to pull away. Iowa pulled within three at 28-25, but freshman Megan Hodge ended things with back-to-back kills.

Penn State managed to shut down the Iowa attack in game two, holding the Hawkeyes to a -.073 attack percentage and just seven kills in the 30-18 win.

Iowa proved they wouldn’t go quietly in the third and final game, keeping the score tight throughout. Back-to-back service aces from Kiley Fister tied things up at 10-10. Penn State looked to pull away with a 21-15 lead, but Iowa came storming back and tied the game at 23-23 on a Meister kill. The teams traded points, then Penn State took advantage of three Hawkeye miscues to take a 29-24 lead. A kill by Catherine Smale and an error from Hodge took it to 29-26, but Hodge ended the match with her match-high 23rd kill.

The Hawkeyes fell into an early hole at the start of game one against the Buckeyes, but came flying back and took a 17-16 lead on a Tiana Costanzo kill. Iowa never looked back, and allowed the Buckeyes just one tie (19-19) the rest of the way.

After hitting so well in the opening game, the Hawkeye attack struggled in the second game. Ohio State jumped out to an early lead and looked to put Iowa away early, but the Hawkeyes fought back to tie things up at 19-19 on a Smale kill. Smale then gave Iowa a 22-21 lead with an ace, but the Buckeyes responded with four-straight points to force the Black and Gold into a timeout. Ohio State took a 26-23 lead out of the break, then held on for the win.

Games three and four were tightly contested, but Ohio State managed to hold off the Hawkeyes to take the match.

Back-to-Back Grand Crowds ? The Hawkeyes had crowds of over 1,000 people in back-to-back games for the first time in school history this weekend. Iowa had 1,339 fans in attendence against Penn State Friday, then drew 1,424 Saturday against Ohio State.

The crowds were the second and third biggest crowds in school history. Iowa set a school record with 1,690 fans for the August 26 game against Iowa State earlier this season.

Scouting Northwestern ? The Northwestern Wildcats are 6-5 on the season and 0-2 in the Big Ten. Three-of-the-Wildcats-five losses have come at the hands of ranked teams (No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Hawaii and No. 14 Wisconsin).

The Wildcats feature a balanced attack with five players averaging over 2.20 kills per game. Junior outside hitter Lindsay Anderson leads the way with 3.38 kills per game.

On defense, Chelsy Hyser and Brittney Aldridge average a block per game, while libero Kate Nobilio leads the Big Ten with 5.20 digs per game.

Northwestern is coached by Keylor Chen, who is in his seventh year at the helm. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 28-23-1.

Iowa and Northwestern split a pair of matches last season, with each team winning on the road.

Scouting Illinois ? The Illinois Fighting Illini are 9-3 on the year and 0-2 in Big Ten Conference play. During their opening weekend, Illinois fell to Minnesota and No. 14 Wisconsin.

The Illini are dangerous from the service line, and lead the Big Ten with 2.28 aces per game.

The Illinois attack is led by the dynamic duo of Kayani Turner and Vicki Brown. Turner, a sophomore outside hitter, is fifth in the conference with 4.60 kills per game. Brown, a junior middle blocker, is ninth in the conference with 4.07 kills per game and third with a .418 attack percentage.

Illinois is coached by Don Hardin, who is in his 11th season. The Fighting Illini lead the all-time series 39-13. The two teams split a pair of matches last season, with each team winning on the road.

70-plus Assists ? A Big Ten setter has posted 70+ assists just three times this season – two of those were by Hawkeye sophomore Kiley Fister. The St. Charles, IL, native put up a Big Ten high 73 against Florida-Atlantic. She also dished out 70 against North Dakota State. Ohio State’s Marisa Main (71 vs. Iowa) is the only other setter to pull the feat.

Dig `em Up ? Sophomore libero Emily Hiza is fourth in the Big Ten with 4.70 digs per game. As a team, the Hawkeyes are second in the conference with 17.02 digs per game.

Big Ten Player of the Week ? Senior middle blocker Melanie Meister was named Big Ten Player of the Week Sept. 18. She was Iowa’s first honoree since Sara Meyermann in 2001.

Block Party ? After not having a single player average more than a block per game last season, both Iowa starting middle blockers are this year. Seniors Melanie Meister (1.07) and Jen Barcus (1.19) are providing a strong defensive presence in the middle for Iowa.

Already No. 6 ? Sophomore setter Kiley Fister is already among the all-time leaders at Iowa in assists. She has 1,886, 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.