Iowa Volleyball Hosts Hawkeye Challenge

Sept. 12, 2013




The University of Iowa volleyball program will hold its 10th consecutive Hawkeye Challenge this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13-14, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Ball State, Drake, UIC and Western Illinois will be in attendance at this year’s 10-match tournament.

Friday, Sept. 13
10 a.m. UIC vs. Western Illinois
12 p.m. Drake at Iowa
2 p.m. Western Illinois vs. Ball State
5 p.m. Drake vs. UIC
7 p.m. Ball State at Iowa
Saturday, Sept. 14
10 a.m. Drake vs. Ball State
12 p.m. Western Illinois at Iowa
2 p.m. Ball State vs. UIC
5 p.m. Drake vs. Western Illinois
7 p.m. UIC at Iowa

Volleyball fans can keep up with all of the Hawkeye Challenge matches throughout the weekend at Gametracker links and results will be available on the tournament central page listed above. Iowa’s match against Ball State on Friday will be streamed online by the Big Ten and will be available for viewers on or through BTN2Go.

The Hawkeyes have a 21-13-1 record against Drake, an even 1-1 mark against Ball State, an 18-3 record against Western Illinois and a 2-1 mark against UIC since 1977.

To keep up with everything Iowa volleyball, like University of Iowa Volleyball on Facebook and follow @IowaVolleyball on Twitter. Be sure to follow the team’s new live Twitter feed, @IowaVB_Live, for more frequent in-match tweets, play-by-play, statistics and more. Don’t forget to use #IowaVB.

Free Iowa volleyball schedule posters and magnets will be available at each Hawkeye match this weekend. Fans that show their ticket stub from the Drake match scheduled for noon on Friday will receive free admission to the 7 p.m. Friday match against Ball State. There will also be free pizza for the first 50 students that show their student ID at the Ball State match. At the Saturday match against Western Illinois scheduled for noon, there will be a kids’ zone featuring giant board games. Fans that show their ticket stub from the Western Illinois match can gain free admission to Saturday’s 7 p.m. match against UIC. Kids’ zone will continue at the UIC match. Following the UIC match, Iowa volleyball will sign autographs.

You could be chosen as Iowa volleyball’s `Fan of the Match’ at any of the Hawkeye’s four weekend matches and receive a prize. To enter, tweet a photo of yourself getting ready for the match or cheering on the Hawkeyes to @IowaVolleyball prior to the match or during the first two sets played. To win, you must include the following hashtags: #biggestfan and #iowavb. The winner will be announced during the break after the second set and will receive instructions on where to retrieve their prize.

Missouri Valley Conference member, Drake, brings a record of 1-6 into the Hawkeye Challenge. The Bulldog roster consists of eight freshmen, five sophomores, two juniors and one senior. The squad is led by first-year head coach Darren McBroom and he is assisted by Leslie Flores and Laurel Sanford. Amanda Platte paces the team in kills with 79 (2.93 per set), while Rebecca Brown has a team-most 171 assists (6.11). Sarah Madden is the digs leader for Drake with 153 (5.46), and Cassie Effken has a team-high 26 blocks (1.37 per set). As a team, Drake owns a .167 attack percentage and averages 11.82 kills per set.

Mid-American Conference member Ball State brings a 4-3 overall mark into the tournament. The Cardinals are led by third-year head coach Steve Shondell, who is assisted by Corey Carlin and Kelli Miller. The roster consists of four freshmen, six sophomores, one junior and five seniors. Alex Fuelling has a team-most 94 kills (3.92 per set), while Jacqui Seidel has dished out 187 assists (8.50 per set) to lead the way. Catie Fredrich paces the squad with 100 digs (4.00 per set), and Hayley Benson has a team-high 23 blocks (0.96 per set). Ball State has a .225 hitting percentage on the season and averages 13.88 kills per set.

Western Illinois, a member of the Summit League, is 3-5 overall in 2013. Second-year head coach April Hall is at the helm, and she is assisted by Laura DeBruler and Bridget Murphy. The Leatherneck roster consists of five freshmen, three sophomores, five juniors and two seniors. Ann Miller leads the team in kills with 107 (3.69 per set), followed by Samantha Fournier with 105 (3.62 per set). Sarah Fetter has a team-most 294 assists (10.14 per set), Mallory Gibson paces the squad in blocks with 23 (1.10 per set) and Bailey Kaloupek has a team-high 126 digs (4.34 per set). Western Illinois has a .190 hitting percentage on the year and averages 12.21 kills per set.

Horizon League affiliate UIC enters the Hawkeye Challenge with an overall mark of 3-4. The Flames roster consists of five freshmen, one sophomore, four juniors and two seniors. The team is led by fifth-year head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley, who is assisted by Ellen Hayes and Josh Wielebnicki. Kara Johnson has a team-most 94 kills (3.36 per set), while MaryKate Imrie has dished out a team-high 318 assists (11.36 per set). Leading the team in digs with 80 (2.86 per set) is Justine Garcia. Sarah Sternard has a team-high 21 blocks (0.75 per set). The Flames own a .196 hitting percentage and average 12.50 kills per set thus far in 2013.

Season tickets remain on sale through the UI Ticket Office. Season tickets are two-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.

Senior libero Bethany Yeager began the 2013 season ranked sixth in career digs with 1,522. After tallying 124 digs over six matches to lead the Hawkeyes, Yeager has moved up to third in the career ranks possessing a total of 1,646 digs. Junior outside hitter Alex Lovell is 20th all-time in kills with a total of 796. Her 20 kill performance allowed her to surpass Stacy Vitali’s 792 career kills mark. Senior Nikki Dailey remains sixth in all-time assists after dishing out 155 assists. Her career assists total is 2,716.

Junior middle Alessandra Dietz garnered her second all-tournament team honor of the season at the Valpo Popcorn Classic. She was also named to the Chanticleer Invitational All-Tournament team and earned MVP honors opening weekend. Fellow junior Alex Lovell was named to the Valpo Popcorn Classic All-Tournament team after leading the Hawkeyes in kills in each match.

Senior libero Bethany Yeager earned the first Big Ten weekly honor of her career when she was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, Sept. 2. She helped the Hawkeyes accomplish a 3-0 mark and Chanticleer Invitational championship opening weekend. Yeager paced the team in digs in each match tallying 26 against Wofford, 30 against Youngstown State, and 23 against Coastal Carolina. Her 79 digs and 5.64 digs per set average top the Big Ten following week one. Yeager’s award marks Iowa’s first Defensive Player of the Week honor since Christina Meister received the nod in 2009.

The Big Ten continues to boast several ranked teams in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll. In the most recent release, eight teams were represented. Penn State has a conference high No. 3 ranking followed by No. 7 Michigan. Others in the poll include: No. 12 Nebraska, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 14 Illinois, No. 15 Michigan State, No. 22 Purdue and No. 25 Wisconsin.

The Hawkeyes have defeated a ranked team in four of Dingman’s five seasons. Iowa will have plenty of opportunities to continue that trend, as nine of its 2013 opponents appear in the AVCA Top 25 poll. 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).