Iowa Set to Host No. 1 Penn State, No. 20 Ohio State

Oct. 22, 2012

Complete Release

The University of Iowa volleyball team (10-13, 2-8) continues Big Ten action this week, hosting top-ranked Penn State (20-1, 10-0) on Wednesday and No. 20 Ohio State (15-7, 6-4) on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The match against the Nittany Lions can be seen live on BTN and the contest against the Buckeyes can be heard live on AM-800 KXIC. Admission is $5 for adults, and free for youth and UI students.

Iowa’s match against Penn State on Wednesday will be broadcast live on BTN. Mike Wolf and Liz Tortorello-Nelson will call the action. Three remaining contests will be streamed live on and two will be televised on Mediacom (MC22).

Remaining Live Coverage Schedule:
Oct. 24 – vs. Penn State (BTN)
Nov. 3 – at Michigan (
Nov. 8 – vs. Purdue (MC22,
Nov. 17 – at Minnesota (
Nov. 24 – vs. Illinois (MC22)

Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball at AM-800 KXIC or at, 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 stream every Big Ten contest this season. Both matches this week will be available at

Iowa’s match at Michigan State on Nov. 2 (5:30 p.m. CT) will mark Sharon Dingman’s 700th as a head coach. Her career record stands at 391-306 in 22 seasons.

Live blogging and live stats (Gametracker) will be available for both matches this week. 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 for links to Gametracker and the live blog.

The Hawkeyes hosted No. 4 Nebraska last Wednesday in their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Match, falling in straight sets (22-25, 14-25, 9-25). Rachael Bedell notched a match-best 14 kills. Nikki Dailey turned in her team leading 15th double-double of the season, recording 26 assists and a team-best 13 digs. The junior has registered six double-doubles during Big Ten action. Dailey eclipsed her season total from a year ago when she posted 14 double-doubles. Iowa traveled to Northwestern on Sunday, falling in straight sets (22-25, 18-25, 15-25). Bedell notched a match-best 12 kills. The junior has posted double-digit kills in each of the last six matches. Redshirt freshman Alli O’Deen added a career-best two kills to go along with seven digs.

#1 PENN STATE (Oct. 24)
Head Coach: Russ Rose (1,078-173, 34th season)
2012 Record/Away/Conference: 20-1 overall; 7-0; 10-0
Series Record/Last Meeting: Penn State leads, 44-0/Sept. 22, PSU, 3-1
Take Note: Five-time NCAA champions: 1999, 2007-10; 7-0 vs. ranked foes

#20 OHIO STATE (Oct. 27)
Head Coach: Geoff Carlston (97-64, 5th season)
2012 Record/Away/Conference: 15-7 overall; 7-1; 6-4
Series Record/Last Meeting: Ohio State leads, 54-9/Sept. 21, OSU, 3-0
Take Note: Won five of last seven overall; advanced to 2011 Sweet 16

The Hawkeyes (10-13, 2-8) are at the midpoint of the Big Ten schedule. Iowa has five home contests and five road matches remaining on its conference slate. The Hawkeyes hosted the Hawkeye Challenge and made three weekend road trips before beginning their 20-match Big Ten schedule. The entire 33-match schedule includes 18 contests against teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Iowa will play a home-away series with every Big Ten team except Illinois and Northwestern for the second-straight season. The Hawkeyes face the Illini once (at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Nov. 24) and the Wildcats once (at Northwestern, Oct. 21).

Iowa and Nebraska played in front of a crowd of 1,719 last Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the 10th largest in program history. Since head coach Sharon Dingman’s arrival in 2008, the Hawkeyes have experienced nine of the school’s top 10 all-time attendance figures, and 18 of the top 21. On November 11, 2009, the Hawkeyes eclipsed the 3,000 mark for the first time in program history when 3,102 fans saw Iowa host top-ranked Penn State.

Wednesday night is Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night. Faculty and staff will receive $3 admission when showing university ID. Free popcorn will be given to the first 50 faculty and staff who show their ID. It also marks Iowa’s Gold Match. All fans are encouraged to wear gold. Saturday night is Halloween Night and the Blackout Match. Kids can trick or treat on the concourse of Carver-Hawkeye Arena prior to the start of the match. Fans are encouraged to wear black. In addition, a Junior Hawk Club Party will be held. Pizza, pop and prizes will be available for those who pre-registered. A Kids Zone featuring board games and face painting will be on the concourse.

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 1-5 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), vs. No. 24 Michigan State (3-0) and vs. No. 10 Minnesota (3-1). Iowa swept 12th-ranked Purdue on Oct. 6, 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. Five of Iowa’s remaining 2012 opponents appear in this week’s AVCA top 25 poll, including No. 1 Penn State and No. 20 Ohio State.

The Hawkeyes play both matches at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this week, marking a stretch of five of six contests at home. Prior to this stretch, Iowa played 13 of 15 matches away from Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are 3-6 at home, 5-1 in neutral site matches and 2-6 in true road matches.

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 registered a team-high 20 digs on Oct. 13 against Wisconsin. The junior passed Kari Hamel for fifth all-time in program history with 1,388 in her career. On Sunday at Northwestern, Yeager turned in 11 digs to become the fifth Hawkeye in program history to eclipse 1,400 career digs. The Brenham, Texas, native leads the Big Ten with 421 digs (4.73/set). She is the only Big Ten player with 400 or more digs.

Nikki Dailey ranks sixth in career assists (2,319) and stands eighth in league assists (9.67/set) this season. In conference play only, senior Allison Straumann ranks 10th in the Big Ten with 0.33 service aces per set. Sophomore Erin Leppek ranks ninth in the league with 1.00 blocks per set.

Wednesday’s match against Penn State marks the 11th contest of Iowa’s 20-match conference slate, and sixth 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. Five league teams are currently ranked in the top 25 (out of 328 Division I programs) and two others are receiving votes. Big Ten teams finished with a combined 114-25 nonconference record.

The Big Ten is represented by five teams in the AVCA top 25 poll, including the nation’s top-ranked team, Penn State. The five teams equal the most of any conference. Defending league champion Nebraska is No. 4 overall. Minnesota ranks 10th, Ohio State sits at No. 20 and Purdue ranks 21st. 2011 national runner-up Illinois and Michigan State are receiving votes.

In 2011, Alex Lovell led the team in kills and became Iowa’s first freshman since 2005 to surpass 300 kills in a single season, recording 312. Junior Nikki Dailey led the team a year ago in assists (1,152) and service aces (33). Junior Bethany Yeager led Iowa in digs (527) for the second time in as many years. All three are leading the same respective categories this season. Lovell is pacing the Hawkeyes with 288 kills. Dailey has registered 861 assists and Yeager leads Iowa with 421 digs.

The Hawkeyes won at Indiana on Oct. 5, 3-1, and at 12th-ranked Purdue on Oct. 6, 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.

Alex Lovell was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 8 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.

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 two-plus seasons at Iowa (317-of-318).

Three Hawkeyes have registered a double-double in 2012. Junior Nikki Dailey leads the way with 15 double-doubles, eclipsing her team-best total of 14 a season ago. She has turned in six double-doubles in league action. Sophomore Alex Lovell has turned in eight and junior Rachael Bedell has notched six.

The Hawkeyes have six newcomers on this year’s roster. They include sophomore transfers Alessandra Dietz (Loyola-Marymount, 6-1, MB) and Katie Kelley (Maryland, 5-5, DS), and true freshmen Julianne Blomberg (5-11, DS/OH), Kathleen Dailey (5-11, DS/OH), Erin Radke (6-1, RS) and Anne Yanda (5-11, S). Five newcomers — Dietz, Kelley, Yanda, Radke, Blomberg — have seen action in 2012. Dietz has started the last 20 contests and ranks fourth on the team with 149 kills. Kelley has seen action in 20 matches. Blomberg and Yanda have both played in six contests. Radke competed in 17 matches this season, with 10 starts, before suffering an ACL injury.

Senior Allison Straumann and juniors Bethany Yeager and Nikki Dailey have been voted team captains for the 2012 season. Straumann, Iowa’s lone senior, has appeared in 61 career matches. Yeager and Dailey have started every match since the beginning of last season.

Hawkeye sophomores Alessandra Dietz and Alex Lovell were high school teammates (2007-10) at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which is 12 miles from the site of this weekend’s matches in Rochester. The two led Marian to three division championships from 2008-10 and a pair of state titles in 2009 and 2010. Dietz and Lovell played club volleyball with Hawkeye sophomore Erin Leppek. The trio led the 17 team to a national title at the 2010 USA Volleyball National Championships and a fifth place finish at the AAU National Championships.

Three Hawkeyes on the 2012 roster hail from the state of Iowa. All three are from Iowa City: sophomores Kari Mueller and Katie Kelley, and redshirt freshman Alli O’Deen. Mueller competed at City High School while Kelley and O’Deen led West High School to the 2010 state title.

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 to place your season ticket order.

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

Iowa continues league action next weekend on the road. The Hawkeyes travel to Michigan State on Friday, Nov. 2 (5:30 p.m. CT) before heading to Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 3 (6 p.m. CT). The match against the Wolverines can be seen live on