Sept. 27, 2011
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The University of Iowa volleyball team travels to the state of Michigan for a pair of conference games Friday and Saturday. The Hawkeyes face No. 17 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday at 7 p.m. (CT) before traveling to East Lansing, Mich., to face Michigan State Saturday at 7 p.m. (CT).
LIVE AUDIO – HAWKEYE ALL-ACCESS
Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball at hawkeyesports.com, where play-by-play voice of the Hawkeyes Ian Martin will call this weekend’s action live from Cliff Keen Arena and Jenison Field House. Hawkeye All-Access, a subscription service committed to providing quality coverage of Hawkeye athletic events, will provide live audio streams Friday and Saturday.
BTN.com VIDEO STREAM
Both weekend contests will be streamed live on hawkeyesports.com via the BTN Digital Network. Hawkeye All-Access subscribers can watch live video streams of UI events on the BTN Digital Network at no extra charge.
HAWKEYE SERVICE CENTER
Live stats and live blogging are available this weekend at the Hawkeye Service Center at hawkeyesports.com. The Hawkeye Service Center is a one-stop webpage that features live stats, Gametracker, and inside information and interactive content via the Official Iowa Volleyball Blog. Former Hawkeye Katie Kennedy and manager Melissa Brockway are the official hosts of the 2011 blog.
No. 17 MICHIGAN (Sept. 30)
Head Coach: Mark Rosen (13th season, 251-153)
2011 Record/Conference: 13-1, 1-1 (tied 4th)
Top Performers: Courtney Fletcher, Sr., MB, ranks fourth in the Big Ten with a .390 hitting percentage; Jennifer Cross, So., MB, leads Michigan with 1.15 blocks per set; Alex Hunt, Sr., OH, leads Michigan with 163 kill, ranks eighth in Big Ten with 4.30 points per set.
Series Record/Last Meeting: UM leads 31-24/Iowa, 3-1
Streak: Iowa, 1
Iowa’s last win: Nov. 13, 2010; Iowa 3-0 (Iowa City)
Last win at UM: 3-2, Oct. 20, 2000
MICHIGAN STATE (Oct. 1)
Head Coach: Cathy George (7th season, 96-78)
2011 Record/Conference: 12-2, 1-1 (tied 4th)
Top Performers: Alexis Mathews, So., MB, ranks second in the Big Ten in both hitting percentage (.411) and blocks (1.49 per set). Jenilee Rathje, Sr., OH, leads MSU with 179 kills. Series Record/Last Meeting: MSU leads 36-24/MSU, 3-0
Streak: Michigan State, 3
Iowa’s last win: Oct. 10, 2009; Iowa 3-0 (Iowa City)
Last win at MSU: 3-2; Oct. 21, 2000
I LOVELL THIS PLACE
Freshman Alex Lovell has made a home in Iowa City and on top of Iowa’s box scores. Lovell leads the Hawkeyes with 157 kills, averaging a team-high 2.91 per set. Her 19 kills vs. Ohio State (9/23) were the most by a Hawkeye freshman vs. a Big Ten opponent since Catherine Smale totaled 21 kills vs. Michigan State in 2005. Lovell has recorded double-digit kills in seven matches.
Iowa’s 79 service aces are the second-highest total in the conference. Sophomore Nikki Dailey leads the Hawkeyes with 22 services aces. Her 0.39 per set average ranks seventh in the conference. The Hawkeyes served a season-high 11 aces in their 3-1 win over St. John’s (9/17).
YEAGER DIGS THE D
Sophomore Bethany Yeager ranks second in the Big Ten with 257 total digs. Her 4.51 average leads the Hawkeyes and ranks No. 7 in the conference. Yeager picked up 4.36 digs per set last season, the fourth highest total in the Big Ten. She averaged a league-best 5.0 digs per set in the opening weekend of conference play.
Senior Mallory Husz averages a team-high 1.18 blocks per set, the seventh highest total in the Big Ten. Husz matched her career best with 11 total blocks in Iowa’s 3-1 win over Southern Miss. The 11 stuffs are the highest single match total in the conference. Husz totaled 16 blocks, including eight in the title match against St. John’s, at the Columbia Invitational. She added 23 total kills in the four-match tournament to earn MVP honors.
The last time Iowa and Michigan met (Nov. 13, 2010), the Hawkeyes topped the No. 16 Wolverines, 3-1. With the victory, the Hawkeyes can say they’ve defeated a ranked team in each of Dingman’s three seasons. Iowa’s top 25 victories since 2008 include: vs. No. 18 Wisconsin (3-0, 2008); vs. No. 18 Michigan State (3-0, 2009); vs. No. 16 Michigan (3-1, 2010). Iowa is 0-3 vs. ranked opponents in 2011 (No. 19 Iowa State, 0-3; No. 24 Ohio State, 1-3; No. 5 Penn State, 0-3).
Senior Megan Eskew and sophomore Nikki Dailey each have a team-high six double-doubles. Eskew’s double-doubles come in the form of kills-digs, while Dailey uses the assist-dig combination to accomplish the feat. Eskew’s most impressive effort came in Iowa’s five-set win over Oakland when she recorded a career high 19 kills and a career best 18 digs. Dailey had a career-high 60 assists in the same match.
NILGES IS FEELING ALL RIGHT
Senior Tiffany Nilges has started the last nine matches as Iowa’s right side hitter. During that stretch, Nilges has averaged 2.87 kills per set, 2.06 digs per set, and set career highs in kills (16 vs. Oakland), hitting percentage (.800 vs. Chicago State), and service aces (2 vs. St. John’s).
Iowa has not won on the road at Michigan or Michigan State since 2000, but both wins came in style. In both matches, the Hawkeyes trailed 0-2 before rallying for 3-2 victories. The 2011 Hawkeyes are 2-1 in five-set matches.
TIME TO GET BUSY
The Hawkeyes play seven matches in 20 days beginning with Friday’s match at Michigan (Sept. 30) and ending Oct. 19 at Nebraska. Iowa will play five of the seven contests on the road. Four of the matches are against nationally ranked competition (at No. 17 Michigan, vs. No. 13 Purdue, at No. 10 Minnesota and at No. 7 Nebraska).
Tiffany Nilges recorded a double-double vs. Penn State (9/24).
Three Hawkeyes have started all 15 of Iowa’s matches. They include Megan Eskew, Bethany Yeager and Nikki Dailey. Eskew and Yeager started all 29 matches last season, extending the streak of consecutive starts to 42. Yeager has not missed a start in her collegiate career. Dailey has been Iowa’s starting setter in every match. She ranks eighth in the conference with 10.0 assists per set.
BIG TEN GOES BIG IN AVCA POLL
The Big Ten is represented by seven teams in the Sept. 26 AVCA top 25 poll. Illinois is the nation’s top-ranked team, while Nebraska (7), Penn State (9) and Minnesota (10) also occupy a spot among the top 10. Purdue (12), Michigan (17) and Ohio State (24) round out the top 25.
Seven Hawkeyes earned all-tournament honors following Iowa’s four preseason tournaments. They include Bethany Yeager (Hawkeye Challenge, Iowa State Challenge, Iowa Invitational); Nikki Dailey (Hawkeye Challenge, Iowa Invitational); Alex Lovell (Iowa Invitational, Columbia Invitational); Megan Eskew (Iowa State Invitational); Mallory Husz (MVP Columbia Invitational); Tiffany Nilges (MVP Iowa Invitational); Chante’ Thompson (Columbia Invitational).
Seniors Megan Eskew and Mallory Husz have been voted team captains for the 2011 season. In 2010, Husz led Iowa in kills per set (2.37) and ranked second in total blocks (93), while Eskew led the Hawkeyes in total attacks (800) and was one of three Hawkeyes to start every set. Eskew was also a captain in 2010. Both Hawkeyes have started every match this season.
BLACK & GOLD REPRESENTING THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Sophomores Rachael Bedell and Bethany Yeager each earned the opportunity to compete for USA Volleyball during the 2011 summer. Bedell helped lead the Women’s Junior A2-Europe Program to a gold medal at the European Global Challenge July 14-22. Yeager helped Team USA grab bronze in the International Junior Division of the USA High Performance Championships in Tucson, Ariz., July 26-29.
HIGHEST HONORABLE MENTION
For the second straight year, Iowa’s recruiting class earned Highest Honorable Mention honors from PrepVolleyball.com. The honor is bestowed to those schools that just missed being ranked inside the top 30. Iowa’s seven-person 2011 recruiting class includes one sophomore and six freshmen.