Hawkeyes Host Big Ten Rivals

Sept. 29, 2010

Complete Release in PDF Format

The University of Iowa volleyball team hosts Indiana and Purdue this weekend inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes entertain the Hoosiers in their conference home opener Friday at 6 p.m. The Boilermakers then visit Iowa City for a 2 p.m. contest Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults. Kids high school age and younger and UI students with a valid school ID get in free.

  • Friday night is area youth club night. T-shirts will be given away to the first 250 fans in attendance.
  • Sunday is Girl Scout Day– Girl Scouts will be making posters to hang up around the arena before the game at 12:30 p.m. Troops interested in attending should contact Katie Mahnke in the Iowa Sports Marketing Department at kathryn-mahnke@hawkeyesports.com .

Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball on hawkeyesports.com, where play-by-play voice of the Hawkeyes Jordan Loperena will call the action live from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This weekend’s action will be broadcast live with audio and video via Hawkeye All-Access, a subscription service committed to providing quality coverage of Hawkeye athletic events.

Live stats and live blogging will be available for every match throughout the season. 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 and video, blogging and Gametracker.

The Hawkeyes will host Wisconsin Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. but has been moved ahead one hour to accommodate the Oct. 23 home football game.

“Starting 0-2 in the Big Ten is hard, so this weekend, and every match after this weekend, is very meaningful. We’re excited to be able to play at home in front of our fans and we’re prepared to compete and battle for a couple wins.”
Head Coach Sharon Dingman

Iowa currently ranks No. 23 in national attendance averaging 1,465 fans through four home contests. Iowa threatened the school record Sept. 10 against Iowa State when 2,787 fans entered Carver-Hawkeye Arena to watch the first event of the 2010 Cy-Hawk Series. The attendance figure was short of the record 3,102 set vs. Penn State in 2009. The Hawkeyes ranked 23rd in national attendance a year ago and have set season attendance records in each of Dingman’s first two seasons.

Hawkeye senior Becky Walters ranks 10th in the nation and third in the conference averaging 0.55 aces per game. Iowa’s middle blocker entered the season with 15 career service aces but has nearly doubled that total with 24 in 2010. Since the inception of rally scoring in 2001, the school record for service aces in a season is 36, set by Sara Meyermann in 2001.

The Hoosiers are led by fourth-year head coach Sherry Dunbar and senior middle blocker Ashley Benson. Indiana’s hometown girl leads the team in kills (3.71 kpg) and total blocks (63). Indiana leads the all-time series 34-25 and won both meetings a year ago. The Hawkeyes last defeated the Hoosiers 3-2 in 2008 in Iowa City. Indiana lost to

The Boilermakers are led by eighth-year head coach Dave Shondell and sophomore Ariel Turner, an outside hitter who leads the Big Ten averaging 4.65 kills per game. Purdue leads the all-time series 43-19. The teams split the season series in 2009 with each team defending its home court.

The Hawkeyes started four freshmen in the nonconference finale at Northern Illinois. Chante’ Thompson made her first career start and contributed a career-best six kills. Bethany Yeager has started every match this season at the libero position. Nikki Dailey has been the starting setter for four consecutive matches and Rachael Bedell has started a combined five matches.

The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in digs per set (15.89) thanks in large part to freshman Bethany Yeager. Iowa’s 5-7 libero ranks second in the conference averaging 4.68 digs per set. Her 33 digs against Creighton ties for the highest single-match total in the Big Ten this season and the sixth-highest total in program history.

Junior Megan Eskew and the Hawkeyes host their Big Ten home opener Friday at 6 p.m.

Four of Iowa’s nine preseason matches were in five sets. The Hawkeyes came out on top in three of the four matches. The Hawkeyes rallied from two sets down to top Southern Illinois (8/28), nearly lost a two-set advantage before topping Creighton (9/4) and rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat Saint Louis (9/4). The Hawkeyes lone five-set loss came at Drake (9/14). Iowa was 2-1 in five-set matches last season.

The Hawkeyes have four freshmen on the roster, including three from the Lone Star State. Freshmen Bethany Yeager (Brenham, TX), Chante’ Thompson (Hurst, TX) and Rachael Bedell (Plano, TX) all come from the state of Texas. The trio is joined by freshman Nikki Dailey (Franklin, WI). Iowa’s freshmen quartet represents a 2010 recruiting class that earned Highest Honorable Mention by PrepVolleyball.com.

For the first time in program history, the Iowa volleyball team started 3-0 in consecutive seasons. Iowa swept through the Hawkeye Challenge to post its 3-0 record this year. In 2009, the Hawkeyes matched the best start in program history by winning their first six matches. The Hawkeyes 5-1 start matches the second-best start in program history. Only the 1978, 1988 and 2009 teams started the season with a better record (6-0).

The Hawkeyes will make four appearances on national television this season. Each of Iowa’s contests versus No. 12 Minnesota (10/6, 10/27) and the home matches against Northwestern (10/30) and Penn State (11/26) will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. All four matches will be broadcast in high-definition.

Senior Becky Walters and junior Megan Eskew serve as team captains for the 2010 season. Walters, a fifth-year senior from Parkersburg, IA, leads Iowa with 24 service aces and ranks second with 42 total blocks. Eskew missed 2009 with a knee injury but returned to the court with a bang by earning all-tournament honors at the season-opening Hawkeye Challenge.