Hawkeyes Head to Indiana, No. 25 Purdue

Nov. 20, 2013


Iowa volleyball begins its road trip with a match at Indiana on Friday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. CT. The match will be covered by the Big Ten Digital Network and will be available on BTN.com or through the BTN2Go application. The Hawkeyes conclude the weekend with a match at No. 25 Purdue on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. CT. Gametracker is available for both matches at hawkeyesports.com.

UI volleyball’s libero Bethany Yeager now tops the career digs standings with a total of 1,957 and counting in her career. The four-year starter surpassed the previous, 23-year-old record of 1,931 held by Janet Moylan with a 13 dig effort against Michigan on Nov. 15 on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Yeager has led the team in digs as a freshman, sophomore, and junior. She currently paces the 2013 squad with a total of 435 digs.

Several Hawkeyes have been busy etching their names in Iowa’s career standings in 2013. Senior libero Bethany Yeager now holds the career digs school record with a total of 1,957 digs. Senior setter Nikki Dailey is currently sixth in career assists with 3,082, 14th in career service aces with 92, and 15th in career digs with 1,024. Dailey became just the 11th player in school history to reach the 1,000 mark in two statistical categories in her career. Junior Alex Lovell is currently 16th all-time in career kills with 1,056, while senior Rachael Bedell ranks 19th with 871.

Indiana is 9-18 overall and 1-15 in Big Ten action heading into the Friday night match. The roster is comprised of five freshmen, six sophomores, one junior, and four seniors. The Hoosiers are led by seventh-year head coach Sherry Dunbar, and she is assisted by Nancy Mueller and Paul Koncir. Morgan Leach paces the team in kills with 270 (2.76 per set), and Megan Tallman has dished out a team-high 593 assists (6.90 per set). Caitlin Hansen leads the way in digs with 370 (3.78 per set), and Awele Nwaeze has a team-most 80 blocks (0.82 per set) on the season. Indiana averages 12.59 kills per set and owns a .191 hitting percentage.

The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers last played on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Iowa edged out Indiana in the fifth set to record its first Big Ten win of the season, 3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 19-25, 16-14), on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Senior Rachael Bedell and junior Alex Lovell fueled the Hawkeye offense with 22 and 20 kills, respectively, in the match. Senior Nikki Dailey dished out a team-most 31 assists, senior Bethany Yeager posted a team-high 20 digs, and junior Alessandra Dietz and freshman Lauren Brobst led the blocking effort with five each. The Hoosiers lead the Hawkeyes in all-time meetings 28-38.

No. 25 Purdue brings a 16-11 overall record and a 7-9 Big Ten mark into this weekend. The roster is made up of four freshmen, four sophomores, two juniors, and five seniors. Head coach Dave Shondell is in his 11th-year at the helm of the program, and he is assisted by Kathy Jewel and John Shondell. Val Nichol leads the Boilermakers in kills with 274 (2.69 per set) and assists with 617 (6.05 per set). KiKi Jones has a team-high 119 blocks (1.17 per set), while Carly Cramer has a team-most 383 digs (4.03 per set) on the year. As a team, Purdue averages 13.28 kills per set and owns a .235 hitting percentage.

The Hawkeyes fell to the Boilermakers, 3-0, in the last meeting between the two teams on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Oct. 18, 2013. Rachael Bedell, Lauren Brobst, and Alex Lovell each posted eight kills in the loss to lead the Hawkeye offense. Nikki Dailey dished out 12 assists, and Bethany Yeager led the team in digs with 12. Purdue leads Iowa in all-time meetings 20-49. The Hawkeyes last defeated the Boilermakers on Oct. 6, 2013 on the road by a score of 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-18).

The Big Ten continues to have a strong presence in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll this week. The conference has a total of eight teams included, which is more than any other league in the country. No. 2 Penn State continues to lead the way, while No. 6 Nebraska also appears in the top 10. No. 11 Minnesota, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 17 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, and No. 20 Illinois made the top 20. No. 25 Purdue rounds out the poll. Northwestern received votes, but not enough for a top 25 ranking.

UI volleyball is currently among the top three teams in the Big Ten in a pair of statistical categories. The Hawkeyes are third in service aces with 133 (1.27 per set) this season and third in digs with 1577 (15.02 per set). Junior Alex Lovell is eighth in the individual standings with 362 kills (3.45 per set) and 10th in points with 396.5 (3.78 per set). Senior Bethany Yeager ranks fourth in the digs category with a total of 435 (4.14 per set).

Last season when the Hawkeyes made their annual trip to play at Indiana and Purdue, the team had its most successful weekend of the season. Iowa began the weekend with a 3-1 (25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22) win over the Hoosiers and swept the Boilermakers 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-18), who owned a 12th place national ranking at the time. Alex Lovell and Rachael Bedell keyed the Hawkeye victories with strong offensive efforts in each match. Lovell earned her first career Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor for her performance that weekend, making her the first Iowa volleyball player to receive the award since 2006.

The Hawkeyes wrap up the 2013 regular season with a pair of matches on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena next week. Iowa faces Nebraska on Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. CT. All fans can attend the match free of charge to serve as a `thank you’ for supporting UI volleyball all season long. It is also $1 hot dog night. The Hawkeyes conclude the season with a match against Ohio State on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. CT. It will serve as Senior Night for Rachael Bedell, Grace Burns, Nikki Dailey, and Bethany Yeager. It is also Fan Appreciation Night and prizes will be given out to fans throughout the match. Following the match, the Hawkeyes will sign autographs. Both matches will be covered by the Big Ten Digital Network and will be available online at BTN.com or through the BTN2Go application. Mediacom will also show the match against Ohio State live on MC22. Gametracker is available for each match at hawkeyesports.com.

For all things Hawkeye volleyball, `Like’ the official University of Iowa Volleyball Facebook page and follow @iowavolleyball on Twitter. To receive in-match updates, be sure to follow @iowavb_live on Twitter. Make sure to use #iowavb.