Volleyball Looks to Continue Winning Ways

Oct. 10, 2012

Complete Release

The University of Iowa volleyball team returns home to continue Big Ten action this weekend. The Hawkeyes (10-9, 2-4), fresh off two-straight league road wins, host No. 10 Minnesota on Friday and Wisconsin on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Both contests can be seen live on BTN.com.

The Hawkeyes won at Indiana last Friday, 3-1, and at 12th-ranked Purdue last Saturday, 3-0, to earn their first conference wins of the season. 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. The Hawkeyes were one of five league teams with an undefeated weekend.

Alex Lovell was named Big Ten Player of the Week for her efforts in Iowa’s two road victories. It marked Iowa’s first Player of the Week honor since Sept. 18, 2006, when Melanie Meister received the recognition. It was also the Hawkeyes’ first weekly honor since Christina Meister was tabbed Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 7, 2009. 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.

Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball at hawkeyesports.com, where play-by-play voice of the Hawkeyes Ian Martin will call the action throughout the season. Hawkeye All-Access, a subscription service committed to providing quality coverage of Hawkeye athletic events, will air every Big Ten contest this season. Both matches this weekend will be available at hawkeyesports.com.

Iowa’s matches this weekend mark the third and fourth of 10 Hawkeye matches that will be available via live coverage during the season. The contests will be shown live on BTN.com. The Hawkeyes’ matches at Northwestern on Oct. 21 and against Penn State on Oct. 24 will be shown on BTN, while four remaining contests will be streamed on BTN.com.

2012 Iowa Live Coverage Schedule:
Sept. 21 – at Ohio State (BTN.com)
Sept. 28 – vs. Michigan (BTN.com)
Oct. 12 – vs. Minnesota (BTN.com)
Oct. 13 – vs. Wisconsin (BTN.com)
Oct. 17 – vs. Nebraska (BTN.com)
Oct. 21 – at Northwestern (BTN)
Oct. 24 – vs. Penn State (BTN)
Nov. 3 – at Michigan (BTN.com)
Nov. 8 – vs. Purdue (BTN.com)
Nov. 17 – at Minnesota (BTN.com)

#10 MINNESOTA (Oct. 12)
Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (14-3, 1st season)
2012 Record/Away/Conference: 14-3 overall; 5-1; 5-1
Series Record/Last Meeting: Minn. leads, 59-12/2011, Minn. (3-0, 3-1)
Take Note: Gophers are 5-3 against ranked opponents

Head Coach: Pete Waite (302-136, 14th season)
2012 Record/Away/Conference: 14-5 overall; 4-1; 2-4
Series Record/Last Meeting: Wis. leads, 44-20-1/2011, Wis. (3-0, 3-0)
Take Note: All four conference losses have come against ranked foes

Live blogging and live stats (Gametracker) will be available for both matches this weekend. Hawkeye manager Libbie Hillmer hosts the live blog, providing scoring updates and interactive content from the Official Iowa Volleyball Blog. Visit the Iowa volleyball page at hawkeyesports.com for links to Gametracker and the live blog.

The Hawkeyes have defeated a ranked team in four of Dingman’s five 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); at No. 12 Purdue (3-0, 2012). The Hawkeyes are 1-4 against ranked foes this season, falling at No. 18 Iowa State (3-2), at No. 23 Ohio State (3-0), at No. 4 Penn State (3-1), and vs. No. 24 Michigan State (3-0). Iowa swept 12th-ranked Purdue last Saturday, 3-0, on the road. The victory marked Dingman’s first win over a ranked foe on the road. No. 12 Purdue is the highest-ranked team the Hawkeyes have defeated during her tenure. Seven of Iowa’s remaining 2012 opponents appear in this week’s AVCA top 25 poll, including No. 10 Minnesota.

Bethany Yeager became the 14th Hawkeye in program history to surpass 1,000 career digs in Iowa’s season-opening sweep of Chicago State. The junior registered a match-high 21 digs in the win. Yeager has moved into sixth place in the all-time rankings with 1,351 career digs. She trails Kari Hamel (1,383) for fifth place by 32 digs. The Brenham, Texas, native leads the Big Ten with 362 digs (4.89/set).

Nikki Dailey ranks sixth in career assists (2,174) and stands eighth in league assists (9.68/set) this season. In conference play only, senior Allison Straumann ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 0.39 service aces per set. Sophomore Erin Leppek ranks seventh in the league with 1.09 blocks per set. Junior Rachael Bedell ranks 10th in kills (3.45/set). Bedell has 206 kills this season, topping her previous season high of 189 when she was a freshman.

Friday night is the Hawks Nest Student Night Tailgate. There will be free pizza and pop in addition to games and giveaways for students. Friday’s contest is also Dance Marathon Night. Fans are invited to show their support for the University of Iowa student organization which raises funds for children with cancer. Saturday is Family Night, with a kids zone featuring giant board games. Fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used board game to donate to local hospitals to receive free admission.

Friday’s match against Minnesota marks the seventh contest of Iowa’s 20-match conference slate, and third of 10 conference home contests. Five of the last six national championships have been claimed by current members of the Big Ten. Nebraska won the title in 2006 before Penn State captured four straight (2007-10). Illinois finished as the national runner-up to UCLA a year ago. Seven league teams are currently ranked in the top 25 (out of 328 Division I programs) and another is receiving votes. Big Ten teams finished with a combined 114-25 nonconference record.

The Big Ten is represented by seven teams in the AVCA top 25 poll, including the nation’s top-ranked team, Penn State. The seven teams marks the most of any conference. Defending league champion Nebraska is No. 3 overall. Minnesota ranks 10th and Purdue sits at No. 17. Other top 25 residents include Ohio State (No. 19), 2011 national runner-up Illinois (No. 22) and Michigan State (No. 25). Michigan is receiving votes.

The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena this weekend for two matches after playing 13 of their last 15 contests on the road. Iowa is 3-3 at home, 5-1 in neutral site matches and 2-5 in true road matches.

Juniors Bethany Yeager and Nikki Dailey have started every match since the start of the 2011 season. Dailey has not missed a set since last season, while Yeager, an Academic All-Big Ten honoree, has only missed one set in her first three seasons at Iowa (302-of-303).

Three Hawkeyes have registered a double-double in 2012. Junior Nikki Dailey leads the way with 12 double-doubles. Sophomore Alex Lovell and junior Rachael Bedell have notched six. Bedell recorded double-doubles in both of Iowa’s road wins last weekend.

Season tickets remain on sale through the UI Ticket Office. Season tickets are 2-for-$30 and include a complementary Hawkeye t-shirt. Contact the UI Ticket Office at 1-800-IA-HAWKS or visit hawkeyesports.com to place your season ticket order.

Become fans of the official Iowa Volleyball fan page by going to facebook.com/iowavolleyball to follow the Hawkeyes on Facebook. Fans can also follow the Black and Gold on Twitter (@IowaVolleyball) and YouTube (youtube.com/uiowavolleyball).

Iowa continues league action next weekend in Iowa City, hosting No. 3 Nebraska on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. The contest is Iowa’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness Match. Fans can watch the contest on BTN.com. The Hawkeyes travel to Northwestern on Sunday, Oct. 21. at 2 p.m. The match can be seen live on BTN. Fans can listen to both matches live on AM-800 KXIC.