October 17, 1006
In most situations, coaches don’t call on freshmen to make an impact. Yet, during the College of Charleston tournament in mid-September, Head Coach Cindy Fredrick called on Megan Schipper to replace Chatherine Smale after Iowa coaches feared she had sustained a stress fracture. Schipper went on to tally 25 kills in 11 games and in recent weeks has had an increased roll on the team.
“It was really fun to be able to step up and play with the seniors, and to bring excitement to the court,” said Schipper. “I like bringing the excitement. I was just happy to be out there.”
When Smale came back, Schipper was once again out of the lineup. After seeing limited playing time the first weekend of conference play, Fredrick opted to play her more the following weekend. Against Illinois, the freshmen tallied eight kills in four games.
Schipper’s playing time has since increased and she now has a consistent spot in the lineup. Though she does split time with senior Tiana Costanzo, the time allows her to play front row where she is at her best.
“It was definitely different just being able to go in there. I never knew when I was going to go in or who I was go in for,” said Schipper on her playing time. “Now I’m kinda set in my place and know when I’m supposed to go in and what my job is.”
Through Big Ten competition thus far, she has been one of the team’s biggest offensive threats. She’s second on the team in kills per game with 2.5 and fourth in kills with 55.
What has allowed Schipper to come into her own on the team is that she brings a tremendous amount of fire to the game. She’s highly competitive and doesn’t allow her teammates to get down.
“She doesn’t let people quit,” said Fredrick. “She doesn’t let people get down. She always has that positive energy and that’s the difference.”
An attitude like this doesn’t come from anyone who’s not accustomed to winning. At Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Iowa, she was a standout in both volleyball and tennis.
On the volleyball court she, along with fellow freshman Hawkeye, Becky Walters, won the 2006 Class 2A state championship and were runners-up in 2005. She also had a number of individual honors during her career, most notably she was named the 2005 Class 2A Player of the Year, a two-time Elite All-State and first team all-state selection, and was a Prep Volleyball All-America nominee as a senior.
On the tennis court she won the 2005 Class 1A state championship and was the runner-up in 2006. She was also a thee-time singles conference champion.
“She doesn’t let people quit. She doesn’t let people get down. She always has that positive energy and that’s the difference.”
Iowa Head Coach Cindy Fredrick
“We watched her in high school and we watched her in club competition and you just can’t help but get excited watching her play because she has so much fire for the game,” said Fredrick. “We followed her as a tennis player too. Winning a state championship in doubles, it makes you look at somebody who’s accustomed to it and expects to be a winner and Megan is very much that way.”
After the success in high school, Schipper came to Iowa knowing what she needed to work on to get some playing time. During the preseason, she worked out a lot, specifically trying to improve her arm swing and jumping ability.
She does admit that the success she had previously was very important. Being in a leadership role has carried over. It has allowed her to become the player she is now. She enjoys the leadership and excitement she brings, along with being held accountable. She knows that when the ball comes her way, she has to get her job done.
With just over a month to go in the season, Coach Fredrick would like to see Schipper continue to progress. She still has a lot of things to learn but Fredrick says she’s very coachable. She has been able to adjust to the collegiate game because of her desire to adapt and make changes. To go along with her hitting, Schipper realizes she still needs to work on her blocking to be more complete up front.
For the future, Fredrick said the coaches will be working a lot with her during the spring because she needs to become a better passer.
By Josh Mitchell
Iowa Sports Information