Smale Named Volleyball Most Valuable Player

Feb. 17, 2009

IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa volleyball team recently celebrated the 2008 season at its annual banquet. Head Coach Sharon Dingman also handed out three team awards.

Senior Catherine Smale was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. The St. Charles, IL, native, became the seventh player in school history to record both 1,000 kills and digs in a career. Smale led the team in 2008 with 380 kills and was second on the team with 276 digs. She finished her career ranked eighth in career kills with 1,315 and 13th in digs with 1,073.

Junior Christina Meister was given the team’s Most Improved Player award. Meister, a West Des Moines native, played in 28 matches with two starts. She was credited 87 digs and 11 service aces in 2008.

Sophomores Samantha Brannigan and Megan Eskew were awarded the team’s Practice Player of the Year. This award is given to the player(s) who consistently make their teammates better by hard work and dedication on the practice court.

The Hawkeye volleyball team enjoyed one of its most successful seasons in recent memory in 2008. The Hawkeyes finished the season with a 14-18 overall record and ninth place in the Big Ten at 6-14. The six conference wins are the most for an Iowa team since 2000 and the ninth place finish marks the first time since 2000 that the Hawkeyes haven’t finished in one of the two bottom spots of the ultra-competitive Big Ten conference since 2000. The 14 overall wins are also tied for the most since the 2000 season.

Winning also produced large and electric crowds at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season. Iowa shattered its average attendance record in 2008, with an average of 1,146 fans coming to see the Black and Gold compete. Five of the 10 largest crowds in volleyball history were set in 2008, including the second-largest crowd in school history at 1,746 against Michigan State Oct. 18. Iowa also had a winning record inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the first time since 1998.