Sept. 13, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Matches in the 10th-consecutive Hawkeye Challenge begin today on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. After two weekend tournaments on the road, the University of Iowa volleyball team is excited to return home.
The Hawkeyes opened the 2013 season with a 3-0 outing at the Chanticleer Invitational to clinch the tournament title. After leading the Hawkeyes to victory with career high kills in consecutive matches, junior Alessandra Dietz was named the tournament's most valuable player.
In week two, Iowa played to a 2-1 record at the Valpo Popcorn Classic. For their efforts on the court, Dietz and junior Alex Lovell were named to the all-tournament team.
The Hawkeyes are now ready to play in front of a home crowd and show the skills they've developed during the early portion of the season.
"It's really exciting," said Dietz, who is second on the team with 65 kills. "We had a lot of success these past two weekends, and we've been eager to get home to show our fans what we can do and how much better we've gotten in preseason."
Drake, Ball State, Western Illinois, and Illinois Chicago travel to Iowa City to compete in the Hawkeye Challenge. Iowa will face Drake and Ball State at noon and 7 p.m. (CT) Friday before facing Ball State and Western Illinois at the same times Saturday.
"Each team is going to challenge us in different ways," said UI head coach Sharon Dingman. "The more that can happen for us during preseason tournaments, the better. If we can continue to get better in the areas we have been exposed during the first two weekends, we're going to be good heading in to this weekend and moving forward."
Iowa volleyball invites Hawkeye fans to pack Carver-Hawkeye Arena this weekend. Fans that show their ticket stub from Friday's noon match against Drake will receive free admission to the Ball State match. The first 50 students to show their student ID at the Ball State match will receive free pizza.
Fans attending the noon match against Western Illinois on Saturday can show their ticket stub to receive free admission to Iowa's evening match against UIC. The Hawkeyes will also sign autographs following their competition against UIC.
"The best part about playing in Carver-Hawkeye Arena is knowing it's our home court," said Dietz. "We get a little more excited knowing that our fans are here cheering for us. It's a lot of fun."
"We have a good, healthy sense of urgency about us right now, so it creates some good energy," said Dingman. "We play hard, and I think any fan of the Hawkeyes appreciates that. It's going to be a little bit cooler inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena this weekend, so come out and watch us."