Making Their Mark

Nov. 9, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — During preseason, there was one thing in particular on the minds of all University of Iowa volleyball upperclassmen. They wanted to leave their mark on the program and create a legacy that would last in the for years to come.

With seven contests remaining in the 2013 regular season, several have done so by etching their names in the Iowa volleyball record book and accomplishing career milestones. Others are on the verge of great feats for the Hawkeyes.

Junior outside hitter Alex Lovell became the first to reach a milestone when she notched her 1,000th career kill in her 88th match in a Hawkeye uniform at Penn State on Oct. 26. Her offensive efforts throughout the season often pace the team, as she has reached double digits in kills in 19-of-25 matches this year.

Becoming the 17th player in school history to reach the 1,000 kills mark is just the latest addition to her list of accomplishments. In 2012, Lovell became the first Iowa player since 2006 to earn a Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week nod after helping the Hawkeyes defeat Indiana and Purdue in consecutive matches. She has also led the team in the kills category as a freshman and a sophomore. Lovell is currently 16th all-time with 1,027 career kills.

Senior libero Bethany Yeager is just seven digs from tying and eight digs from breaking Iowa’s career digs record of 1,931 held by Janet Moylan (1987-90). The four-year starter, who has led the Hawkeyes in digs each season, is currently third all-time with 1,924 digs.

Yeager also became Iowa’s first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week since 2009 after helping the Hawkeyes to a 3-0 season-opening start at the Chanticleer Invitational.

Another member of the Hawkeye roster who is busy etching her name on multiple Iowa all-time lists is senior setter Nikki Dailey. The four-year starter is currently sixth in career assists with 3,032, 14th in career service aces with 92, and 15th in career digs with 1,005.

Dailey became the 15th player in Iowa volleyball history to reach the 1,000 career digs mark last night at No. 9 Minnesota. She is just the 11th player in school history to reach the 1,000 mark in two statistical categories, as she has 3,032 career assists.

Fellow senior Rachael Bedell is the second to enter the Iowa all-time kills list this season with a current total of 833 career kills. She has led the team in kills in six of Iowa’s last eight matches, including a season-high 22 kill effort to help the Hawkeyes accomplish its first Big Ten win of 2013 over Indiana on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Oct. 19.

With all of the individual accomplishments earned by this talented group of upperclassmen, the Hawkeyes will not be satisfied until their individual success transfers into the win-loss column. Iowa is 10-15 overall and 1-12 in Big Ten action with seven contests remaining, and the team looks to end the regular season on a high note.

“We definitely don’t think about those individual accomplishments when we’re out on the court,” Yeager said. “All we’re thinking about is bettering the ball for our teammates, creating opportunities for us to score points, and doing what we need to do for our team to win. We know we have to play our individual roles first, but that will translate into our bigger goals as a team. We know that everything we’re doing ourselves will translate into helping our team win.

“I think those individual touches just come from individuals being hungry to win, wanting to help the team, and wanting to score points so I think that’s how those translate to the bigger picture.”

The Hawkeyes are back in action on Sunday at No. 16 Minnesota. The contest, which is slated to begin at 1 p.m. (CT), will be streamed by the Big Ten Digital Network.