On the Road Again

Sept. 29, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

Iowa continues its four-game conference road trip this weekend with matches against Penn State and Ohio State. Penn State, the nation’s top ranked team, will host the Hawkeyes Friday (Oct. 2) at 6 p.m. (CT) at the Rec Hall in University Park, PA. Iowa will then travel to Columbus, OH, to face the Buckeyes at St. John Arena Saturday (Oct. 3) at 6 p.m. (CT).

Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball on hawkeyesports.com, where play-by-play voice of the Hawkeyes Mike Haberle will call the action live from Penn State and Ohio State. Live stats and live blogging will be available for all Big Ten matches in 2009. 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 audio, blogging and Gametracker.

Iowa’s matchup against Penn State will be streamed live via BigTenNetwork.com. The Big Ten Network is committed to providing Big Ten fans with the best and most coverage of the schools and teams they are most passionate about. BigTenNetwork.com is a subscription based service. Fans interested in watching the Hawkeyes should visit BigTenNetwork.com and create a personal profile page. Cost is $2.99 per event.

Led by senior libero Christina Meister, the Hawkeyes rank first in the Big Ten and 23rd nationally in digs per set (16.82). 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 leads the Big Ten with an average of 4.67 digs per set.

The Hawkeyes opened the 2009 campaign with seven straight road wins to become the first team in program history to start 7-0 away from home. Prior to Iowa’s 3-0 over Binghamton, the Hawkeyes were one of three Iowa teams to start the season 6-0 away from home (1978, 1988).

The Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 3-1 in the Big Ten opener Wednesday (Sept. 23) at the UW Field House in Madison, WI. Iowa’s win was its first in its last 14 visits to Wisconsin. Iowa last defeated the Badgers on their home floor, 3-2, in 1994. Iowa opened the Big Ten season with a win for the second time in as many seasons under Head Coach Sharon Dingman.

The Hawkeyes are 9-0 when attacking at a higher percentage than their opponent this season. Conversely, Iowa has lost its five matches when the opponent hits a higher percentage.

Iowa ranks 26th in national attendance after averaging 1,275 fans at the 2009 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).

“Last week we were reminded of how good the Big Ten is. It was great to see this team take the floor with a lot of confidence and poise regardless of the opponent. Playing on the road three weeks in a row is a challenge, but this team loves a challenge. Now, we have a week of training with the opportunity to get better.”
Head Coach Sharon Dingman

Iowa opens Big Ten play with four-straight road contests. It’s the first time since 1992 the Hawkeyes have opened the conference season with four road matches. 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).

Senior outside hitter Megan Schipper and junior setter Mara Hilgenberg are Iowa’s team captains for the 2009 season. Schipper leads the Hawkeyes in kills (169) and service aces (19) and ranks second in digs (162). Hilgenberg leads the Hawkeyes with 495 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.

The Nittany Lions enter the weekend as the nation’s top ranked team and winners of the last two NCAA Championships. Led by 31st-year head coach Russ Rose, Penn State has won the Big Ten Title a total of 12 times, including the last six, since joining the league in 1991. Junior Arielle Wilson leads the Nittany Lions with 59 total blocks and was recently honored as the Big Ten Player of the Week after recording 13 kills and five blocks at Illinois last weekend. Iowa has never defeated Penn State in 37 meetings.

The Buckeyes are led by second-year head coach Geoff Carlston and OH Katie Dull. The junior has tallied a team-high 202 kills and recorded a career-best three solo blocks at Iowa last season. Ohio State leads the all-time series, 47-9. The two teams split the season series in 2008, with each team winning on the other’s home court. Iowa’s 3-1 win in Columbus ended a 39-match losing streak to the Buckeyes.

The 2009 Hawkeyes will make two appearances on the Big Ten Network this season. Iowa opened the Big Ten season on the Big Ten Network with a 3-1 win at Wisconsin, Sept. 23. 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.

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.