Sept. 19, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa volleyball team has always shared the wooden floor of Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena with men’s and women’s basketball. However, on Sept. 19, 2013, the volleyball program received something to call its own, a Taraflex Sport M Plus floor.
The Hawkeyes are the sixth college volleyball team in the nation to play on the top of the line Taraflex Sport M Plus floor, which has been the Olympic volleyball playing surface of choice since 1976.
The volleyball surface, which is placed over the wooden floor in the arena, is seven millimeters thick and takes approximately two hours to assemble. It is designed to decrease the potential for athlete injury and allows diving athletes to glide more efficiently across the surface.
“The sliding coefficient is what is big for volleyball players,” said Specialty Floors flooring specialist, Matt Frailey. “When you have a wood floor, you have a lot of grab because of the urethane that is on top of the floor. We don’t have to utilize that because of the composition of the product, so they can slide easier across it, and they have reduced friction burns from doing so.
“It is much more comfortable for an athlete because we have a double layer of foam underneath it for light shock, so pivoting and moving around and heavy shocks like diving and falling on it disperses the load. It is more comfortable for the athlete and on the body.”
An athlete who will be taking advantage of the extra glide the floor provides each match is current digs leader and Hawkeye senior libero, Bethany Yeager.
“(The floor) will give us a lot more room to dig,” Yeager said. “Whenever you dive, you slide at least a couple more feet than you normally would. Obviously that will help us get to those balls in front of us, so that is exciting, especially coming up against big teams who are going to be hitting the ball down in front of us.”
The Hawkeyes are excited to play on their new floor and see how the fans react to a new atmosphere tailored to volleyball.
“I’m so excited,” junior outside hitter Alex Lovell said. “Hawkeye volleyball hasn’t had something this exciting in a long time, and it’s a blessing to be here when we got it. It’s something that sets us apart from different gyms and it’s something that gives us an edge.”