Oct. 8, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa sophomore Alex Lovell has been named Big Ten Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday. Lovell, an outside hitter, garners her first career weekly honor.
It marks Iowa’s first Player of the Week honor since Sept. 18, 2006, when Melanie Meister received the recognition. It is also the Hawkeyes’ first weekly honor since Christina Meister was tabbed Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 7, 2009.
Lovell led the Hawkeyes to two Big Ten road wins over the weekend. Iowa won at Indiana on Friday, 3-1, before shocking No. 12 Purdue, 3-0, on Saturday. The Hawkeyes were one of five league teams with an undefeated weekend.
The victory in West Lafayette, Ind., marked Iowa’s first win at Purdue and first sweep of the Boilermakers since Nov. 10, 2000. It also marked the fourth win over a ranked foe for head coach Sharon Dingman, and her first victory over a ranked team on the road. No. 12 Purdue is the highest-ranked team the Hawkeyes have defeated during her tenure. It also marked the first time Iowa has won two-straight league contests since 2008 and consecutive league road matches since 2005.
“Alex had a great weekend, as did the Hawkeyes,” said Dingman. “Alex would be the first person to tell you; it was a team effort. She played well. It is fun to watch her continue to grow and mature as a player and make changes she needs to make to be successful in the Big Ten. I am really excited for Alex to get this award.”
The Leonard, Mich., native equaled junior Rachael Bedell with a team-best 37 kills in the two wins. Lovell hit a team-high .297 and added three aces and 14 digs. She turned in 41 points, averaging 5.29 kills per set.
At Indiana, she tallied 13 kills, two service aces and eight digs in the four-set win, Iowa’s first league victory of the season. In the win over the 12th-ranked Boilermakers, Lovell registered a career-best and match-high 24 kills to go along with an ace and six digs.
“We have had a tough time getting kills,” said Dingman. “It was a great performance because that has been our Achilles Heel all season long. We have worked on it. The players have been willing to make changes and have continued to work… it resulted in two really good matches.”
Iowa out-hit Indiana on Friday, .233 to .143 and recorded more kills, 55 to 48. The Hawkeyes turned in a season-high .291 hitting percentage on Saturday, while limiting Purdue to .212. The visitors tallied 50 kills compared to the Boilermakers’ 39.
The Hawkeyes return to action this weekend in Iowa City. Iowa hosts No. 10 Minnesota on Friday night and Wisconsin on Saturday night. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.