April 4, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa volleyball team opened its spring slate at the Western Illinois Tournament on March 29. The squad played sets against Bradley and host -- Western Illinois.
The UI started off slow in competition, but recovered to win the final three sets. This was the first time first-year head coach Bond Shymansky and his staff, associate head coach Michaela Franklin and assistant coach Jackie Simpson, had the opportunity to see the Hawkeyes compete against other programs.
"It was valuable for us as a coaching staff to learn who we are individually as competitors in a real-match moment," Shymansky said. "It was valuable for us to learn how to coach them and how to communicate with them during the course of a match. The nice thing about spring is you get to make a lot of changes and substitutions. You're constantly tweaking things and searching for the right combinations. We felt like we got closer at the end of the day because we got better as we went and we won.
"As we're finding that right chemistry and the right fit for the style of volleyball that we want to play, we're going to be on that learning curve for a while, both us as a staff and the team. Now we get a few more spring dates that we get to keep pushing, prodding and poking at the different things and players that we have. It was a good first day in that regard. I liked the fact that our group kept battling through the end and found ways to win."
Shymansky was pleased to see many things in week one. He complimented Alyssa Klostermann's ability to run the offense, praised Lauren Brobst's development into a terminal hitter and added that Erin Radke had dynamite moments on the court.
Since competing at Western Illinois, the Hawkeyes have been busy reviewing film, practicing and making adjustments in preparation for this weekend's South Dakota Spring Tournament in Vermillion, S.D. The UI will take on Creighton and host -- South Dakota on April 5.
"The biggest thing is getting us to compete harder," Shymansky said. "We know what it sounds like, we know what it feels like and we know what it looks like when we're competing hard. We need to be able to go to that place and stay there for an entire match. I think this weekend will be a chance for us to do that against two really good teams."