Hawkeyes Hit the Road

Nov. 18, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

The Hawkeyes travel to Illinois and Northwestern this weekend to close out the road portion of their 2009 regular season schedule. Illinois will host the Hawkeyes Friday at 7 p.m. at Huff Hall. Iowa will then travel to Evanston, IL, to face Northwestern Saturday at 7 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Both games will be broadcast live via Hawkeye All-Access with Iowa volleyball voice of the Hawkeyes Dan Wallace calling the action. Visit hawkeyesports.com to follow Iowa volleyball on Hawkeye All-Access.

Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball on hawkeyesports.com, where play-by-play voice of the Hawkeyes Dan Wallace will call the action live from Huff Hall and Welsh-Ryan Arena. This weekend’s live audio broadcast is provided by Hawkeye All-Access, a subscription service committed to providing quality coverage of Hawkeye athletic events.

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, video, blogging and Gametracker.

“Once again, we’re looking for a consistent effort resulting in consistent performance. We have the opportunity to make this a very successful season. How we approach this week of practice will determine whether or not we find success on the road this weekend.”
Head Coach Sharon Dingman

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 (295) and service aces (28) and ranks second in digs (281). Hilgenberg leads the Hawkeyes with 863 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.

Senior Megan Schipper currently ranks 12th on Iowa’s all-time list with 1,138 career kills. She needs 16 kills to pass Dee Ann Davidson (1,153) for 11th all-time. On October 23rd, the Hawkeye captain was honored for becoming the 16th player in program history to record 1,000 career kills. The Aplington, IA, native passed the elusive number in Iowa’s 3-1 win at Wisconsin (9/23). She needs five kills to reach the 300-kill mark for the third straight season. In 2007, she led the Hawkeyes with 309 kills as a sophomore. She tallied a career-high 345 kills in 2008, the second-highest total on the team (Catherine Smale, 380). This season, Schipper leads Iowa with 269 kills (3.02 kills per set).

Iowa ranks second the Big Ten averaging 15.07 digs per set. Senior libero Christina Meister leads the Big Ten with 4.44 digs per set. Since 1990, only three Hawkeyes have averaged more than four digs per set through an entire season: Pam Kavadas, 5.22 (`04); Emily Hiza, 4.74 (`06) and 4.52 (`07); Janet Moylan, 4.63 (`90). Meister has set a new bar for total digs in a season under the current 25-point rally scoring format. She has 434 total digs in 2009. Emily Hiza established the record with 419 digs in 2008, the first year of the current scoring format.

Senior Megan Schipper picked up one service ace in Iowa’s 3-2 win over Wisconsin to become the 10th player in program history rank among the top 20 career leaders in kills, blocks and service aces. The Hawkeye captain currently ranks 11th in career kills (1,138), 16th in career blocks (218) and 20th in career service aces (74).

Senior OH Megan Schipper and junior OH Aimee Huffman have kept conference defenses guessing in 2009. Attacking from opposite ends of the net, Schipper and Huffman have totaled 144 and 117 kills, respectively, in Big Ten play. This season, Schipper leads Iowa with 295 total kills while Huffman has amassed a career-high 233.

Freshman Emma Krieger Kittle reached the 100-kill plateau Oct. 17 at Purdue. The freshman has totaled 141 kills this season and averages 2.0 kills per set in conference play, third best among Hawkeyes. Other current Hawkeyes to record at least 100 kills as freshmen include Megan Schipper (189, `06), Aimee Huffman (192, `07) and Megan Eskew (163, `07).

Sophomore Mallory Husz slapped a career-high 12 kills in Iowa’s five-set win over Wisconsin on the Big Ten Network, Nov. 11. The native of Council Bluffs, IA, also stuffed a career-best seven blocks against the Badgers to help the Hawkeyes sweep the season series from Wisconsin for the first time in 15 years (1994). Husz bounced back Friday with a team-leading 10 kills in Iowa’s three-set loss to Minnesota. She picked up three more blocks and tied a career high with three digs vs. the Golden Gophers. Husz has started six of Iowa’s last seven contests and totaled a team leading 22 kills in the Hawkeyes’ three contests against nationally ranked Illinois, Penn State and Minnesota.

Sophomore Paige Stevens made her first career start against Wisconsin, Nov. 11, and finished with a career-best 52 assists in Iowa’s five-set win over the Badgers. The 52 assists marked a season high for any Hawkeye individual this season. Stevens backed up her effort against Wisconsin with a career-high 11 digs vs. Minnesota, Nov. 13.

Junior Becky Walters has crept into the top 10 conference leaders in blocks per game. The Parkersburg, IA, native ranks ninth in the Big Ten averaging 1.01 blocks per game. She leads Iowa with 81 total blocks in 2009, including 48 in conference play.

Sophomore Tiffany Nilges and the Hawkeyes prepare for Illinois and Northwestern this Friday and Saturday.

Sophomore Tiffany Nilges shined on prime time television in Iowa’s 3-2 win Wisconsin, Nov. 11, on the Big Ten Network. The Tripoli, IA, native picked up career highs in kills (9) and digs (8) as Iowa swept the season series from the Badgers for the first time since 1994.

The Hawkeyes rank 30th in national attendance, averaging 1,373 fans in 11 home contests. Since Head Coach Sharon Dingman’s arrival prior to 2008 season, Hawkeye fans have been flocking to Carver-Hawkeye Arena in record numbers. Four of the top-five all-time attendance figures have been set during the Dingman era. The Hawkeyes set a school attendance record Nov. 7 vs. Penn State when 2,802 fans witnessed the Hawkeyes host the nation’s top-ranked team. The record announced crowd broke the old mark of 2,191 set against Wisconsin on Oct. 13, 2007.

The Wildcats are led by 10th-year Head Coach Keylor Chan and libero Kate Nobilio, Northwestern’s all-time leader in digs. The senior became the first player in program history to post 2,000 career digs when the teams met in Iowa City, Oct. 23. Nobilio ranks second in the Big Ten, averaging 4.42 digs per set (Meister, Iowa, 4.44). Northwestern leads the all-time series, 32-26-1. The Hawkeyes defeated Northwestern 3-0 in Iowa City, Oct. 23, and have won the last three meetings in the series. Iowa defeated the Wildcats in five sets in its trip to Evanston last season.

The Fighting Illini are led by first-year Head Coach Kevin Hambly and OH Laura DeBruler. The junior leads Illinois with 4.51 kills per set, the second highest total in the Big Ten. Illinois leads the all-time series, 46-13. The Hawkeyes fell in straight sets to the Fighting Illilni at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Oct. 24 in the only other meeting this season. Iowa has not defeated the Illini since winning 3-0 at Illinois in 2005.

The Hawkeyes are 12-0 when attacking at a higher percentage than their opponent this season. Conversely, Iowa’s opponent has hit a higher percentage in each of the Hawkeyes’ 16 losses.

Four Big Ten teams remain ranked in the top 15 of the AVCA coaches poll, including two in the top five. In addition, the Big Ten is tied for the lead among all conferences with five top-25 RPI teams and is one of just two conferences to place each of its teams in the RPI’s top 90. Penn State returns as the conference champion, winner of the last two NCAA Championships and ranked atop the 2009 AVCA Coaches Poll. Other Big Ten schools ranked in the top 25 include Illinois (5), Minnesota (12) and Michigan (14).

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.