Spikers Head East

Nov. 6, 2006

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This Week ? The University of Iowa volleyball team (13-13, 2-12) will head East for a pair of Big Ten matches this weekend.

The Hawkeyes will battle 23rd-ranked Ohio State Friday night at 7 p.m., then take on the third-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday at 8 p.m. All times are Eastern.

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 Dan Rodell 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.

Last Week ? The Hawkeyes dropped a pair of conference games over the weekend, falling to Illinois (3-1) Friday night, then losing to Northwestern (3-1) on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes came out firing in the first game against Illinois, out-hitting the Illini .325 to .068. Jen Barcus was particularly effective in game one, getting five kills and hitting at a .714 clip. Iowa never trailed after racing to an 8-2 lead. The Hawkeyes took their first double-digit lead at 18-8 with an Illini error, and held it the rest of the way.

Iowa looked to keep the momentum in game two, and took a 10-7 lead early. Illinois began to chip away, and a Stephanie Alde kill gave them the lead at 18-17. A Catherine Smale kill immediately tied things up again, but a pair of errors put Iowa in a 20-18 hole and forced a timeout. The Hawkeyes came out of the break fired up and took a 22-21 lead, but Illinois responded with a kill and an ace to grab a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

In game three, Iowa got down early and didn’t get its first lead until 25-24. The two teams traded the next nine points, but a pair of Hawkeye errors eventually gave the Illini a 31-29 win.

Game four was a wild affair, featuring eight lead changes and 19 ties. In the end, Illinois fended off a pair of game points, while Iowa fended off six before finally succumbing on a kill by Rachel Henderson.

Against Northwestern, game one was a back-and-forth affair featuring 11 ties and four lead changes. Neither team took more than a three-point advantage at any point in the game. Iowa tied the game up at 16-16, 17-17, 18-18, 19-19, 20-20 and 21-21 before the Wildcats began to pull away. The Hawkeyes kept the game within reach, but was unable to get over the top.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 5-1 lead in game two, only to have Northwestern claw back to take its first lead at 12-11. Iowa kept close and managed to tie the game up at 21-21, but the Wildcats slowly pulled away and took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

Iowa shot to a 6-3 lead in game three, only to have Northwestern come back and tie things up with three-straight points. The teams exchanged points twice for an 8-8 tie, then Iowa got a kill from Megan Schipper and never looked back. The Hawkeyes kept a safe distance the rest of the way, and ended things on a Barcus kill at 30-26.

Northwestern responded in game four and took advantage of 12 Hawkeye errors. Iowa’s last tie came at 12-12 on a kill from Melanie Meister, but Northwestern immediately re-claimed the lead and never gave it back. A Courtnie Paulus kill ended the match at 30-25.

Scouting Ohio State ? The Ohio State Buckeyes come into the week with a 17-7 overall record and a 7-7 mark in Big Ten play. Ohio State is ranked 23rd by the AVCA.

Ohio State will host Penn State Wednesday night.

The Buckeye offense is led by a pair of dynamic hitters, Anna Szerszen and Danielle Meyer. Szerszen leads the way with 4.40 kills per game, while Meyer is just behind with 4.39 kills per game. The two Buckeyes are ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Big Ten.

To run its offense, Ohio State relies on two-time all-America setter Marisa Main. The senior averages 12.65 assists per game, which is good for sixth in the conference. Main is also dangerous on the attack, averaging 1.45 kills per game and hitting at a .344 clip. That total is good for fourth in the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes are coached by Jim Stone, who is in his 25th year at the helm.

Ohio State leads the all-time series 44-8, and has won the last 11 meetings. The two teams met earlier this season, with the Buckeyes winning 3-1 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Scouting Penn State ? The Penn State Nittany Lions come into the week with a 24-1 record and are atop the Big Ten with a 13-1 mark. Penn State is ranked third by the AVCA, and will travel to Columbus for a game with Ohio State Wednesday.

The Nittany Lion offense leads the Big Ten with a .321 hitting percentage and is second with 16.58 kills per game.

Freshman phenom Megan Hodge leads the team and is second in the Big Ten with 4.72 kills per game. Sophomore Nicole Fawcett is second on the team with 4.24 kills per game. That total is good for ninth in the league.

The Nittany Lions boast the top-three individual hitting percentages in the conference, with Christa Harmotto (.425), Melissa Walbridge (.416) and Cassy Salyer (.351).

On defense, Penn State lead the league in blocks (3.61 per game) and opponent hitting percentage (.111).

The Nittany Lions are coached by Russ Rose, who is in his 28th year.

Penn State leads the all-time series 31-0. The two teams met earlier this season at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, with the Nittany Lions getting a 3-0 win.

Ace High ? Sophomore setter Kiley Fister is dangerous from the service line, where she has recorded a team-best 27 aces.

Meister With the Block ? Senior middle blocker Melanie Meister is averaging a career-best 1.14 blocks per game.

In Big Ten play, the West Des Moines native is ninth in the conference with 1.20 blocks per game.

Barcus Plays Big ? Senior middle blocker Jen Barcus had a good weekend for Iowa, averaging 4.12 kills per game, 1.75 blocks per game and a .346 hitting percentage. Against Northwestern, she had 18 kills and seven blocks.

In the Top Five ? Sophomore setter Kiley Fister is already among the all-time leaders at Iowa in assists.

Fister has amassed 2,324 assists, which puts her fifth on the all-time list. She is now behind Barb Zvonek (1995-98), who is in fourth with 3,153

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

Costanzo Digging Into Top Ten ? Junior Tiana Costanzo is currently 11th on Iowa’s all-time digs list with 1,067. The Escondido, CA, native is just nine digs behind Ellen Mullarkey (1984-87) for 10th on the list.

Janet Moylan (1987-09) is Iowa’s all-time leader with 1,931.

Attendance Up ? The Hawkeyes have been seeing more faces in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season. The team is averaging a school-best 983 fans per game, good for 35th in the nation.

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

Digstown ? As a team, the Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten with 16.97 digs per game. Michigan leads the way with 17.35 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.

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.