Hawkeyes Hit the Road

Oct. 23, 2006

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team (12-10, 1-9) will head to the state of Indiana this weekend for a pair of Big Ten Conference matches.

Iowa will battle the Indiana Hoosiers Friday night at 7 p.m. in Bloomington, then head to West Lafayette for a game with the No. 13 Purdue Boilermakers Saturday night at 7 p.m.

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 livestats will be available.

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.

Last Week ? The Hawkeyes dropped a pair of Big Ten Conference matches over the weekend, getting swept by No. 17 Minnesota (30-19, 30-23, 30-24) and falling in four to No. 11 Wisconsin (30-19, 26-30, 30-24, 30-21).

On Friday night, Minnesota pressured Iowa with a relentless attack, out-hitting the Hawkeyes .331 to .123, and had three players with 12 or more kills.

Minnesota led from the opening gun in game one, using five service aces to help take the 30-19 win. The Hawkeyes were able to keep things relatively close and cut the lead to 20-17 before Minnesota went on a six-point run to put the game out of reach.

Game two was another wire-to-wire win for the Gophers, who jumped out to an immediate 5-1 lead, then gradually stretched it through the game. Seven of Jessy Jones’s match-high 17 kills came in game two.

In game three, the Gophers looked to sprint to the finish before Iowa came clawing back to take its first lead of the match at 16-15. It was short-lived, however, as Minnesota took the next two points to re-claim the lead. Iowa tied things up again at 17-17, but it was as close as it would get. The Golden Gophers took 10-of-the-next-12 points to seal the win.

It looked to be another tough night for the Hawkeyes early Saturday, when Wisconsin controlled game one from the outset and cruised to a 30-19 win. But Iowa came storming back in game two to even the match at 1-1.

Iowa out-blocked Wisconsin 7-4 in the game, while Catherine Smale had four kills and hit at a .500 clip. The Hawkeyes took a 4-3 lead on a Badger attack error, and never looked back. Iowa ripped off seven-consecutive points during the match, taking its biggest lead at 19-10. Wisconsin did what it could to get back in the game, but the Hawkeyes had an answer for every rally and a Stacy Vitali kill ended things at 30-26.

Game three was a close one, with Wisconsin having to fend off a hungry Iowa team most of the way. A Smale kill cut the lead to two at 18-16, but the Badgers heated up and stretched their lead to nine at 28-19. Iowa wouldn’t go quietly, and scored three-straight to force Wisconsin into a timeout. The Badgers came out of the break rejuvenated, and closed out the game, 30-24.

In game four, Iowa jumped out to a 16-10 lead, but Wisconsin took advantage of 11 Hawkeye attack errors and outscored Iowa 20-5 to end the game and take the match.

Scouting Indiana ? The Indiana Hoosiers come into the week with a 10-12 record and a 1-9 record in the Big Ten Conference. Indiana will play Purdue Wednesday night in West Lafayette.

The Hoosier offense is led by outside hitter Erica Short, who is averaging 4.43 kills per game – good for fifth in the Big Ten. She has slowed down a bit during conference play, but still averages a team-best 3.83 kills per game.

The Hoosiers use a pair of setters. Gabrielle Regas leads the way with 6.33 assists per game, while Caitlin Watts averages 5.72 assists per game.

On defense, Annie Moddrell leads the way with 1.21 blocks per game, while libero Juli Pierce has 3.38 digs per game.

Indiana is coached by Katie Weismiller, who is in her 13th season. The Hoosiers lead the all-time series 29-24. Earlier this season, Iowa swept Indiana in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and has won the last four meetings.

Scouting Purdue ? The 13th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers come into the week with a 17-4 record and a 7-3 mark in the Big Ten. All four losses for the Boilermakers have come at the hands of ranked teams.

Purdue will host Indiana Wednesday.

The Boilermaker offense is led by Danita Merlau, who averages a team-best 3.86 kills per game. Samantha Mader is second with 3.06 kills per game.

Middle blocker Stephanie Lynch is eighth in the Big Ten with 1.16 blocks per game. She averages 2.39 kills per game and a .314 attack percentage.

The Boilermakers are dangerous from the service line, with three players ranked in the top ten in aces. Brittany Dildine and Sam Gray are fifth in the conference with 0.37 aces per game, while Merlau is eighth with 0.36 aces per game.

Purdue is coached by Dave Shondell, who is in his fourth season at the helm. The Boilermakers lead the all-time series 37-18. Earlier this season, Purdue edged the Hawkeyes in a five-game match at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Vitali Back in Action ? Junior Stacy Vitali had her best game since returning to action this past weekend, pounding out a season-high 11 kills against No. 11 Wisconsin Saturday.

The St. Charles, IL, native has played in four matches this season since returning from offseason shoulder surgery. She was one of Iowa’s leading hitters last season, averaging 3.23 kills per game and recording a team-best .273 attack percentage.

Moving Into the Top Five ? Sophomore setter Kiley Fister is already among the all-time leaders at Iowa in assists. She has 2,158, good for sixth on the Hawkeyes’ all-time list and just one behind Jitka Stehnova (2002-03) for fifth place on the all-time list.

Janet Moylan (1987-90) is Iowa’s all-time leader with 5,471.

Attendance Up ? The Hawkeyes have been seeing more faces in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season. The team is averaging a school-best 918 fans per game, good for 34th in the nation.

The Hawkeyes have drawn more than 1,000 fans five times this season, after having done that just seven times previously. Iowa has seen the top four crowds of all-time this season and five of the top seven crowds. Iowa drew a school-record 1,690 fans to the Iowa State game on August 26.

Two-headed Setter ? For the first time this season, the Hawkeyes used both setters throughout the game last weekend. Sophomore Kiley Fister started each game, with freshman Christina Meister entering the game when Fister rotated to the front row. It was Meister’s first extensive action at setter. She had previously seen action as a defensive specialist while Fister was setting.

Fister had 44 assists on the weekend, while Meister recorded 28.

Digstown ? As a team, the Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten with 16.60 digs per game. Michigan leads the way with 17.80 digs per game.

Win Number 400 ? Iowa Head Coach Cindy Fredrick won her 400th career collegiate game on October 6 with a 3-0 (30-20, 30-24, 30-23) win over Indiana.

Coach Fredrick is now 400-292 in her career, with a 36-49 record at the University of Iowa.

Take Me To Your Leader ? Senior middle blocker Melanie Meister and sophomore libero Emily Hiza are the Hawkeye captains this season.