From Freshmen To Teammates

Sept. 18, 2015

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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. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.


IOWA CITY, Iowa — When the University of Iowa volleyball team defeated Iowa State (3-1) last Saturday, one thing became clear to UI head coach Bond Shymansky.

“We’re not rebuilding anymore,” he said. “We’re built.


“This team is built to win and it’s just going to be a question of how much we want to win, and how hard we will work to obtain what we should be this year. We are already showing that.”

The win was monumental for a program that hadn’t defeated the Cyclones since 1997, and it took a total team effort to secure the victory.

Sophomore Jess Janota had a career-night, recording a personal-best 20 kills on 37 attempts and only one error. Junior Lauren Brobst added 17 kills, while junior Loxley Keala quarterbacked the Hawkeye offense with 55 assists.

While the impact of the collegiate veterans was undoubtedly felt, the freshmen pair of Libby Koukol and Reagan Davey — both infants the last time the Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones — also made their presence known.

Koukol came up big in the back row, registering a career-high 18 digs. The Omaha, Nebraska, native has started six of Iowa’s nine matches this season.

“Going out there I knew it was a big rivalry,” Koukol said. “I had my mind set on beating them, because I knew it had been a long time since we had.”

In her first career start, Davey recorded 10 kills, seven digs, and an ace. While the Ocala, Florida, native doesn’t quite grasp the full ramifications of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series rivalry just yet, she felt the imprint the victory had on her teammates.

“I could see what it meant to all of my Iowan teammates,” said Davey. “Seeing the impact it had on them made that win feel good.”

Freshman Molly Kelly has also seen time in the starting rotation. The West Liberty, Iowa, native recorded five digs and registered an ace against the Cyclones.

As the trio of freshmen continue to transcend expectations, Shymansky is counting labels as a thing of the past.

“I have to remind myself to quit calling them freshmen,” said Shymansky. “They are just teammates and starters. Those three gals have earned those starting roles right now.”

The Hawkeyes kick off the Holiday Inn Hawkeye Challenge today, hosting Gardner-Webb at 11 a.m. (CT) and Coastal Carolina at 7 p.m. Iowa and Coastal Carolina will square off again on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., before the Hawkeyes conclude weekend action against Drake at 3:30 p.m.

Admission is free to both of Iowa’s matches on Saturday.

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