Hawkeyes Open 2016 at NIU Invite

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The University of Iowa volleyball team opens regular season play at the Northern Illinois Invitational in DeKalb, Illinois, this weekend. The Hawkeyes take on Loyola (Chicago) at 10 a.m. (CT) and DePaul at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, and conclude weekend action against the host Huskies at 2 p.m. Sunday. Each match will take place on Victor E. Court on the campus of Northern Illinois University. 

Sunday’s match against NIU will be shown live online on ESPN3. Audio is available for all three matches on Hawkeye All-Access at hawkeyesports.com. Third-year play-by-play announcer Tim Keating will call the action from DeKalb. Live stats are also available on the volleyball schedule page on hawkeyesports.com. 

For an inside look at the Iowa Volleyball program and access to exclusive coverage, “like” University of Iowa Volleyball on Facebook and follow @IowaVolleyball on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to follow the team’s live Twitter feed, @IowaVB_Live, for more frequent in-match tweets, statistics and more.

The University of Iowa volleyball team ended the 2015 season with a 12-21 overall record and a 2-18 mark in Big Ten play under second-year head coach Bond Shymansky. 


  • Loyola finished 2015 with a 20-12 overall record — the team’s first 20-win season since 2004.  
  • The Ramblers went 9-9 in Missouri Valley Conference action — the most conference wins since 2004. 
  • Senior Morgan Reardon led the Ramblers in kills last season with 3.18 kills per set. 
  • Iowa owns a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series. The teams last met on Sept. 10, 2011 at the Iowa Invitational. The Hawkeyes won, 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-17).


  • DePaul went 16-16 overall and 4-14 in Big East Conference action in 2015. 
  • Sophomore Brittany Maxwell led the team with 326 kills last season (2.69 k/s). 
  • The Hawkeyes own a 5-2 advantage in the all-time series. The teams last met at the Hawkeye-Holiday Inn Challenge on Sept. 20, 2008. Iowa won, 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-19). 


  • The Huskies compiled a 19-11 overall record and a 14-2 mark in Mid-American Conference action. 
  • Northern Illinois won the Mid-American Conference Regular Season Championship in 2015 and advanced to the MAC Tournament Final. 
  • The Huskies return four starters from 2015 — Malia Gabel, Meg Wolowicz, Jenna Radtke, and Lauren Zielinski – as well as libero Anna Brereton. 
  • Iowa owns a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series. The Hawkeyes fell to the Huskies in NIU Invite action last season. Northern Illinois defeated the Hawkeyes, 3-1 (25-27, 17-25, 25-21, 28-30). 

Lauren Brobst and Jess Janota each earned all-tournament team honors following the 2015 NIU Invitational (Aug. 29-30). Brobst recorded 51 kills throughout the two-day tournament, including a season-high 21 against Northern Illinois on Aug. 30. Janota finished the tournament with 31 kills. She paced the team with 17 kills against Pacific on Aug. 29. 

The Big Ten Conference has had an NCAA Champion in eight of the last 12 years. Nine teams — Michigan State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Purdue — appeared in the 2015 NCAA Tournament with Nebraska winning their fourth national title. The title marked the third straight for the Big Ten Conference. 

Nine Big Ten teams appeared in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll, released Aug. 10. Defending National Champion Nebraska appeared at No. 1 followed by No. 3 Minnesota, No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 9 Penn State, No. 14 Illinois, No. 15 Ohio State, and No. 20 Purdue. Michigan State (107) and Michigan (83) also received votes in the poll.

From May 24-June 6 the Hawkeyes traveled to four different countries as part of the program’s first European Tour. With stops in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Ireland, the Hawkeyes squared off with professional and junior national teams to improve their game and bond as a unit. 


  • The 2015 roster features five newcomers, including two with collegiate experience. 
  • Redshirt sophomore Kasey Reuter (OH) transferred from Missouri and joined the Hawkeyes last spring. The Sioux City, Iowa, native appeared in 31 matches with 12 starts as an outside hitter for the Tigers in 2014 before redshirting in 2015. 
  • Redshirt freshman Meghan Buzzerio (OH/RS) transferred from Arizona to join the Hawkeyes this fall. The Chino Hills, California, native went to Arizona ranked 96th nationally on PrepVolleyball.com’s Senior Aces list. 
  • The Hawkeyes also welcome three incoming freshman including defensive specialists Alexa Ito and Emily Bushman and outside hitter Cali Hoye. 

The Hawkeyes were picked to finish 12th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten Preseason Poll released Aug. 23. Defending national champion Nebraska was at the top of the poll followed by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Northwestern, Maryland, Iowa, Indiana, and Rutgers. 


  • Iowa set two top-10 attendance marks in 2015. The Hawkeyes downed the Cyclones in front of the fifth-largest crowd in program history (2,488) on Sept. 11, before hosting the nationally ranked Huskers on Sept. 23 in front of 2,447 fans — the sixth-largest crowd in program history.
  • Iowa has sold more tickets in 2016 than it has in each of its previous seasons dating back to 2010. 

The Hawkeyes compiled a 10-3 record in nonconference action last season, marking the best overall start for the program since going 11-1 in 2006. Two of Iowa’s three loses were against ranked opponents (No. 17 Hawaii and No. 25 UCLA). The nonconference season included wins over South Dakota State, Pacific, American, Milwaukee, Iowa State, No. 25 Texas A&M, Gardner Webb, Coastal Carolina (2x), and Drake.

Annika Olsen recorded her 500th dig of the 2015 season against Northwestern on Nov. 21. The junior led the Big Ten in total digs (546) and digs per set (4.75) last season. Olsen is the sixth Hawkeye to surpass 500 digs in a single season. The Johns Creek, Georgia, native registered 20 or more digs 11 times last season, including a career-high 26 in Iowa’s win over Rutgers on Oct. 31.  

Loxley Keala recorded her 1,000th assist against Purdue on Nov. 7, 2015. The junior’s 1,247 assists rank eighth on Iowa’s all-time career assists list and ninth all-time in assists in a single season. Janet Moylan (1987-90) holds the school record with 5,471 career assists. Keala started every match and every set as Iowa’s setter in 2015. The Kaneohe, Hawaii, native registered 50 or more assists seven times last season, including a career-high 64 against Michigan on Oct. 7. 


  • Bre Payton was elevated from director of operations to interim assistant volleyball coach in March. Payton played collegiate volleyball at Northern Iowa. The four-year starting setter earned first team all-conference honors and conference player of the year recognition in three consecutive seasons (2009-11). She is a two-time second team All-American (2010-11) and an honorable mention All-American (2009).
  • Iowa City, Iowa, native Emily Sparks joined the volleyball staff in March as the director of volleyball operations. Sparks previously worked as a staff member in the Iowa Athletic Department, spending time in Academic Services, sports operations, and event management. Sparks played collegiate volleyball at Upper Iowa University from 2009-13. 
  • Peter Gustin joined the staff this summer as a volunteer assistant coach. The Mokena, Illinois, native led Solon High School to a class 3A State Championship in 2014 and was named the Class 3A Coach of the Year. Gustin began coaching at Adrenaline Volleyball Academy in 2014.

Head coach Bond Shymansky and six student-athletes — Lauren Brobst, Reghan Coyle, Alexa Ito, Molly Kelly, Alyssa Klostermann, and Kasey Reuter — were born and raised in the state of Iowa. Shymansky, an Iowa City native, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa. He played men’s volleyball for the UI club team as a student. 

The Hawkeyes compete live on the Big Ten Network (BTN) or BTN Plus 20 times this season. Iowa’s matches at Michigan State on Sept. 23 and verses Minnesota on Oct. 21 will be televised live on BTN. Eighteen Iowa matches will be shown via live stream online through BTN Plus. To see if your cable package gives you access to BTN Plus content, sign up for BTN Plus or learn more about it at visit btn2go.com. 

Carver-Hawkeye Arena’s new LED Daktronics scoreboard will be unveiled at Iowa’s home opener against Western Illinois on Sept. 2. A new four-sided center hung video system is the centerpiece of the renovations. Four auxiliary displays, two at each end of the arena, have also been installed as part of Carver-Hawkeye Arena’s upgrades. 

The Hawkeyes open their home slate, hosting the Hawkeye Classic in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sept. 2-3. Iowa hosts Western Illinois, Arizona State, Butler, and Oakland in the two-day tournament.