Aug. 8, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Day one. Today marks the official start of the University of Iowa volleyball team’s 2012 campaign. The team has been working hard since the end of last season, but the first official day symbolizes the outset of a new year.
“It is really exciting to be back,” said Allison Straumann, Iowa’s lone senior. “You work so hard in the offseason, and then finally, it is your time to shine. We all have to come together now. It is a very exciting experience for all of us.”
“Finally, it is here,” said junior Bethany Yeager. “The first day, there is a lot of hype and energy. We are ready to get out there, get after it and start this new season off right.”
After completing meetings on Tuesday, the team opened with its first official practice this morning. The Hawkeyes are glad camp has arrived following a spring and summer full of training. Most importantly, they are excited to be together as a team.
“It has been a long time since we have all been together,” said Straumann. “Having to integrate the new girls has been really exciting. At the same time, it is a new challenge for all of us. With all of us training together over the summer, minus the freshmen, we are trying to integrate them not only with volleyball plays, but to get them comfortable with us and get everybody working together.
“This morning’s practice was really good because we can see how everyone reacts to certain things. We are starting to figure each other out. That was really exciting in the morning practice, and I think it will just keep getting better as time goes on.”
“We had a good summer training together, and we have made a lot of progress,” said Yeager, who was one of three Hawkeyes to start every match in 2011. “Now we have six new girls that are going to help us a lot this season.”
Sophomore Alex Lovell echoed her teammates’ comments.
“Over the summer we put in a lot of hard work and worked on our team dynamic. We are a very young team and have an incredible amount of new players. It will be really exciting to see areas that they can help us on the court. We are really looking forward to what our team can do this year.”
For the student-athletes and coaches, getting back in the gym is what it is all about.
“Everyone is so happy in the gym,” said Lovell, who a year ago became Iowa’s first freshman since 2005 to surpass 300 kills in a single season. “The intensity is really high.”
“It is so fun to be in the gym,” said fifth-year head coach Sharon Dingman. “I walked out of my office this morning and I said, `I am going to the gym, this is why I coach, to be in the gym teaching.’ Watching them learn new things is super fun. This is a really good group.”
Iowa opens the regular season with the annual Hawkeye Challenge presented by Comfort Suites Aug. 24-25 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.