Hawkeye Volleyball Road Trips to Minnesota, Wisconsin

Nov. 6, 2013


Iowa volleyball continues Big Ten play with a match at Minnesota on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. CT and a match at Wisconsin on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. CT. Both matches will be covered live by the Big Ten Digital Network and will be available on BTN.com and through the BTN2Go application. Audio play-by-play and Gametracker will also be available at hawkeyesports.com.

Senior libero and four-year starter Bethany Yeager is just 16 digs from tying and 17 digs from breaking Iowa’s career digs record of 1,931 held by Janet Moylan (1987-90). Senior setter and four-year starter Nikki Dailey is closing in on the 1,000 career digs mark. With four digs, Dailey will become the 15th player in school history to reach the 1,000 digs mark. She will also become the 11th player in school history to reach the 1,000 mark in two statistical categories, as she has a total of 3,014 career assists. Junior outside hitter Alex Lovell became the 17th player in school history to reach the 1,000 career kills mark on Oct. 26 at Penn State. Lovell received recognition for her accomplishment during the home stand last weekend.

Senior Bethany Yeager is currently third all-time with 1,915 career digs, and needs 16 to tie the school record of 1,931 and 17 to reset the record. Senior Nikki Dailey is sixth all-time in assists (3,014), 14th all-time in service aces (91), and 15th all-time in digs (994). Junior Alex Lovell is currently 16th all-time in kills (1,016), while senior Rachael Bedell ranks 19th all-time in kills (833).

No. 9 Minnesota brings a 21-4 record overall and a 9-3 Big Ten mark into the Friday night matchup. The Golden Gophers are led by second-year coach Hugh McCutcheon, associate head coach Laura Bush, and assistant coach Erich Hinterstocker. Minnesota’s roster is comprised of six freshmen, seven sophomores, two juniors, and three seniors. Tori Dixon paces the team offensively with 331 kills (3.85 per set) and a .404 hitting percentage. Dixon also leads the blocking effort with 117 on the season (1.36 per set). Alexandra Palmer has a team-high 842 assists (9.68 per set), and Ashley Wittman has a team-most 279 digs (3.28 per set). As a team, Minnesota averages 13.30 kills per set and owns a .286 hitting percentage.

Minnesota recorded a comeback, 3-2 win over Iowa on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Oct. 5. The Hawkeyes opened the match with wins in the first (25-20) and second sets (25-23), before the Golden Gophers came fighting back to take the final three by scores of 25-17, 25-17, and 15-11, respectively. Minnesota leads Iowa 12-62 in all-time meetings. Iowa’s last victory over Minnesota occurred on Sept. 22, 1995. The Hawkeyes won by a score of 3-1 (7-15, 15-11, 15-4, 15-10).

No. 16 Wisconsin owns an 18-6 overall record and a 7-5 mark in conference play heading into the weekend. The team is led by first-year head coach Kelly Sheffield, and he is assisted by Brittany Dildine and Gary White. The Badger roster consists of four freshmen, three sophomores, seven juniors, and two seniors. Ellen Chapman paces the team with 316 kills (3.36 per set), while Lauren Carlini has dished out a team-most 854 assists (10.68 per set). Haleigh Nelson leads the blocking effort with 99 (1.06 per set), and Taylor Morey has a team-high 282 digs (3.00 per set). As a team, Wisconsin averages 13.59 kills per set and owns a .224 hitting percentage.

Wisconsin defeated Iowa, 3-1, on Oct. 2 on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes recorded a 25-17 win in set one, and the Badgers responded with wins in the final three sets 25-19, 25-17, and 25-20 for the match victory. Wisconsin leads Iowa in all-time meetings 20-47-1. Iowa’s last win over Wisconsin occurred on Nov. 11, 2009. The Hawkeyes won by a score of 3-2 (19-25, 25-17, 25-16, 20-25, 15-8).

In the most recent release of the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll on Nov. 4, a total of seven Big Ten teams were included. No. 2 Penn State remains the top-ranked team in the conference, while No. 9 Minnesota appears in the top 10. No. 11 Nebraska, No. 13 Michigan State, No. 14 Purdue, No. 16 Wisconsin, and No. 17 Michigan also made the cut. Illinois and Northwestern each received votes for the second consecutive week, but were not included in the top 25.

Iowa volleyball ranks second in the Big Ten in digs with 1,414 (15.20 per set) and third in the conference in service aces with 126 (1.35 per set). Libero Bethany Yeager is third in the digs category with a total of 393 (4.23 per set). Outside hitter Alex Lovell is seventh in kills with 322 (3.46 per set) and eighth in points with 352 (3.78 per set).

The Hawkeyes rank 87th in service aces nationally and third in the Big Ten with a total of 126 on the season (1.35 per set). Thirteen out of 17 Hawkeyes who have played this season have recorded at least one service ace. Alessandra Dietz paces the team with 23 service aces (0.25 per set), followed closely by Alyssa Klostermann (22; 0.26 per set) and Nikki Dailey (21; 0.25 per set). Erin Leppek (19; 0.22 per set) and Alex Lovell (15; 0.16 per set) have also reached double digits in the category. Others recording service aces include: Grace Burns (8), Rachael Bedell (7),Kari Mueller (4), Katie Kelley (2), Emily Yanny (2), Julianne Blomberg (1), Alli O’Deen (1), and Anne Yanda (1).

The Hawkeyes have defeated a ranked opponent in four of Dingman’s five previous seasons. Iowa will have plenty of opportunities to continue that trend, as seven of its Big Ten opponents currently appear in the AVCA Division I Coaches 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).

The Hawkeyes return to Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for matches against Michigan and Michigan State on Nov. 15-16. The 7 p.m. Friday night match against the Wolverines will be covered live by the Big Ten Digital Network and available for fans on BTN.com and through the BTN2Go application. The 7 p.m. Saturday evening match against the Spartans will be shown live on Mediacom channel MC22. It will also be covered by the Big Ten Digital Network. Iowa wraps up the regular season with matches at Indiana on Nov. 22 and Purdue on Nov. 23, and a home stand against Nebraska on Nov. 27 and Ohio State on Nov. 30. The final match of the season will serve as Senior Night for Rachael Bedell, Grace Burns, Nikki Dailey, and Bethany Yeager.

Season tickets are two-for-$30 and include a complimentary Hawkeye t-shirt. All season ticket holders receive snacks and drinks in the Hadley Club rom following the second set of each home match. Contact the UI Ticket Office at 1-800-IA-HAWKS or visit hawkeyesports.com to place your season ticket order.