Building For the Future

Nov. 27, 2006

With three graduating seniors, the Hawkeye staff was looking to fill some holes during this season’s recruiting. Head Coach Cindy Fredrick believes that three the players she has brought in for the 2007 season will be able fill the team’s needs.

By losing both Jen Barcus and Melanie Meister to graduation, the staff needed to find talented young players at the middle position.

The first find was in the Hawkeyes’ own backyard. Katie Kennedy of Iowa City was not only one of the best recruits in Iowa, but also one of the best in the Midwest. Fredrick spotted Kennedy during her first year as Hawkeye coach and knew she had to keep her in Iowa City.

“When you see someone that talented and they’re right in your own backyard, you certainly don’t want to lose them,” said Fredrick. “She was a top priority for us and she came for an unofficial visit her junior year. We were ready to convince her of all the reasons to pick Iowa.”

While walking up the tunnel, Kennedy told Fredrick she was coming to Iowa. Fredrick remembers almost falling over because she was so excited. She is expected to push the team’s current middle hitters next season.

During her final three seasons at City High, she earned first team all-conference, all-area, all-district, and all-state honors. In her final season, she led her team to a 4A state championship, while being named the 4A state tournament “captain.”

Aimee Huffman of Poth, TX could also help fill the void of losing two middle hitters. She can play middle or outside hitter, as well as setter.

“She’s a pretty smooth player and, obviously, pretty multi-talented when she can set and be a hitter at the same time. She’s 6-feet tall so that’s a great attribute right there,” said Fredrick.

Associate Head Coach, Marshallah Farokhmanesh saw Huffman in Texas and could tell she was a very good player. During the summer before her junior year, she came to Iowa’s summer camp. Having ties to the area also played a role in her decision to become a Hawkeye. Whenever she came to Iowa, she stayed with her grandparents who in Iowa City.

During her four years at Poth High School, Huffman had been a four-time all-state selection, as well as a three-time 2A state tournament MVP. She led her team to three straight 2A state championships, along with a 2A runner-up finish as a freshman.

The last of the recruits is Megan Eskew, a 5-9 leftside hitter from Marist High School in Chicago. She will primarily be a defensive specialist and eventually could become the Hawkeye libero.

She’s very strong defensively and is a very good passer. Fredrick says she’s also exciting to watch as a hitter. At only 5-9, she packs some heat when hitting the ball, which may catch many off guard.

“Farokh and Chad (Hanson, Assistant Coach) had seen her in the club circuits and were impressed with her athleticism, jumping ability and competitiveness,” said Fredrick. “You watch her play and she competes so hard. She has that quiet fire in the belly, but she really has it.”

At Marist High School she was a four-time all-area selection in Chicago. She was a third team all-state selection during her junior year. The following year she was named the Daily Southtown Player of the Year. In 2004, she was a part of the Celtic Force Volleyball Club team that won the USAV 15 Open National Championship.

Eskew may see some early playing time as an outside hitter while the team is still building, but her strength is in the back row.

With only three scholarships, it appears to Fredrick the team needs were met with good players on the court and good people off the court. All three recruits are very smart off the court and fit the profile for the type student-athletes of that Fredrick wants in her program.

“You look at your kids and you want them to be very skilled and very athletic and you want them to win. You also want them to be good students and I think these kids all fit what Iowa volleyball has become,” said Fredrick.

By Josh Mitchell, Iowa Sports Information

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