Hawkeyes Head East

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Sept. 15, 2009

The Iowa Hawkeyes travel to West Point, NY, this weekend to participate in the West Point Challenge. The Hawkeyes face Binghamton at 1 p.m. Friday (Sept. 18) before playing tournament host Army at 6 p.m. Friday night. Iowa closes the challenge with an 8 a.m. contest with Morgan State Sunday (Sept. 20). All times listed are central.

HEAD COACH Sharon Dingman
“We are excited to get back on the court. I have no doubt we are going to put together a solid week of practice, so when we hit the court this weekend we’ll be prepared to rediscover our strengths.”

Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball on hawkeyesports.com, where live stats and live blogging will be available for all three weekend matches. A member of the Iowa volleyball staff will offer scoring updates and interactive content from the Official Iowa Volleyball Blog. Visit the Iowa volleyball page at hawkeyesports.com for links to live stats and live blogging.

ITT Knight Vision will webcast Iowa’s 6 p.m. contest vs. Army. Visit the video link on the volleyball schedule page at hawkeyesports.com to watch the match. ITT Knight Vision is a subscription based service.

The Hawkeyes opened the 2009 campaign with six straight road wins to become just the third Iowa volleyball team to start the season 6-0 (1978, 1988). Iowa lost its seventh game to Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, narrowly missing the chance to become the first team in program history to begin the season 7-0. This weekend the Hawkeyes are aiming to become the first team to win its first seven road contests of the season. The 2006 Hawkeyes started 6-0 on the road before falling 3-0 at Northwestern in the Big Ten road opener.

Iowa volleyball fans will be able to follow along with senior Megan Schipper, junior Aimee Huffman, sophomore Mallory Husz and freshman Emma Krieger Kittle as they blog about the season . All four student-athletes will discuss things like upcoming matches, road trips and what it’s like being a student-athlete at the University of Iowa. Visit the volleyball home page to check out Iowa’s own VOLLEYBLOG.

BINGHAMTON (game one)
The Bearcats are members of the America East Conference and led by 11th-year Head Coach Glenn Kiriyama and junior OH Michelle McDonough, who earned MVP honors during the Bearcats’ 3-0 sweep through the Binghamton Invite last weekend. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series, 1-0, having defeated the Bearcats, 3-0, in 2002.

ARMY (game two)
The Black Knights are members of the Patriot League and led by second-year Head Coach Alma Kovaci and freshman OH Ariana Mankus, who earned Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors in each of the season’s first two weeks. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series, 1-0, having defeated the Black Knights, 3-0, in 1985.

MORGAN STATE (game three)
The Bears are members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and led by Head Coach Ramona Riley-Bozier, who is in her 22nd year as head coach of the Bears, and freshman MB Macie Wyly, who earned MEAC Rookie of the Week honors after being named to the Battle of Baltimore All-Tournament team, Sept. 4-5. This weekend’s matchup is the first meeting between the two schools.

Led by senior libero Christina Meister, the Hawkeyes rank 15th nationally in digs per set (17.14). Meister (4.81), senior Megan Schipper (3.34) and junior Signe Mueller (3.29) all average more than three digs per set.

Iowa ranks 23rd in national attendance after averaging 1,275 fans at last weekend’s Hawkeye Challenge. Iowa opened the season (Sept. 11) vs. Iowa State in front of 2,111 fans, the second-largest crowd in program history (2,191, Wisconsin, 10/13/07).

Iowa junior OH Aimee Huffman earned all-tournament honors at last weekend’s Hawkeye Challenge. The native of Poth, TX, finished the three-match challenge with 29 kills, 36 digs and eight assists. She has earned all-tournament recognition in each of Iowa’s three pre-conference tournaments. Huffman was named MVP of the Loyola Invitational in Iowa’s weekend opener, Aug. 28-29, when she totaled 29 kills, 19 digs, 10 blocks and seven assists in the three-game tournament sweep. She added 34 kills and 26 digs en route to making the all-tournament team at the Country Inn and Suites Green Bay Classic, Sept. 4-5.

Junior libero Christina Meister was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after her performance at the Green Bay Classic (Sept. 4-5). Meister tied a school-record with 36 digs vs. Central Michigan to become the first Hawkeye to earn a Big Ten weekly honor since 2006 when her sister, Melanie Meister, took home the award on offense. Meister ranks second in the Big Ten with an average of 4.81 digs per set.

Senior outside hitter Megan Schipper and junior setter Mara Hilgenberg are Iowa’s team captains for the 2009 season. In 2008, Schipper ranked among the team leaders in kills, service aces, digs and total blocks. Hilgenberg is the Hawkeyes’ top returner in assists and is a third generation Hawkeye captain. Her great-uncle Wally and her uncle Jim were football team captains in 1963 and 1977, respectively.

Mara Hilgenberg’s father Jay and Emma Krieger Kittle’s father Bruce played football together at Iowa from 1977-1980. Jay was a four-time letterwinner and went on to win Super Bowl XX with the 1985 Chicago Bears. Bruce used a redshirt in 1980 and came back as a team captain for Hayden Fry’s 1981 Big Ten Championship team.

Iowa opened the season with two three-game road trips and will continue to pound the pavement with a three-game road tilt at this weekend’s West Point Challenge. To kick off 2009, the Hawkeyes play 11 of their first 14 matches away from home. Eleven of Iowa’s 32 contests are against 2008 NCAA Tournament qualifiers. They include Iowa State, Minnesota (2), Penn State (2), Michigan (2), Purdue (2) and Illinois (2).

The 2009 Hawkeyes will make two appearances on the Big Ten Network this season. Iowa will open the Big Ten season at Wisconsin Wednesday, Sept. 23. The contest will be aired live at 7 p.m. CT. The rematch between the Hawkeyes and Badgers, Wednesday, Nov. 11, will be broadcast live from Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 7 p.m. CT. Both matches will be broadcast in high-definition.