Oct. 9, 2013
SUMMING IT UP
Iowa volleyball hits the road for a pair of Big Ten matches on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12. The Hawkeyes are slated to take on No. 7 Michigan State on Friday and No. 17 Michigan on Saturday. Each match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. CT. Fans can follow along with the match with live audio play-by-play from announcer Jeremy Meyer or Gametracker on hawkeyesports.com. In match information will also be sent out throughout the competition through the @IowaVB_Live Twitter handle.
Iowa trails Michigan State and Michigan in all-time meetings 40-24 and 35-24, respectively. The Hawkeyes last defeated Michigan State on Oct. 10, 2009, trumping the then No. 18 ranked Spartans 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-19) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa last defeated Michigan on Nov. 13, 2010 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena by a score of 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23). At the time, Michigan owned a No. 16 ranking.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
No. 7 Michigan State brings an overall record of 15-1 and a perfect 4-0 Big Ten mark into Friday night’s match. The Spartans are led by ninth-year head coach Cathy George, associate head coach Russ Carney, and assistant coach Mike Gawlik. Their roster is made up of six freshmen, three sophomores, four juniors, and four seniors. Lauren Wicinski has a team-most 224 kills (4.48 per set) on the season, while Kristin Kelsay has dished out a team-high 380 assists (7.45 per set). Kari Moster paces the team in digs with 227 (4.45 per set), and Alexis Matthews leads the squad in blocks with 66 (1.32 per set). As a team, Michigan State averages 13.8 kills per set and has a hitting percentage of .278.
A LOOK AT THE WOLVERINES
Michigan owns a No. 17 ranking, an overall mark of 11-4, and a 1-3 Big Ten record heading into the Saturday evening match. The Wolverine roster is comprised of three freshmen, seven sophomores, one junior, and five seniors. The squad is led by 15th-year head coach Mark Rosen, associate head coach Leisa Rosen, and assistant coach Erin Virtue. Lexi Erwin leads the team in kills with 181 (3.23 per set), while Lexi Dannemiller has a team-most 581 assists (10.56 per set). Leading the squad in digs and blocks are Tiffany Morales with 230 (4.04 per set) and Krystalyn Goode with 60 (1.09 per set), respectively. As a team, Michigan averages 13.68 kills per set and has a .260 hitting percentage on the season.
In the most recent release of the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll on Oct. 7, 2013, a total of eight Big Ten teams were included. Making the top 10 cut were No. 4 Penn State, No. 7 Michigan State, and No. 9 Nebraska. Rounding out this week’s poll were No. 11 Minnesota, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 17 Michigan, No. 19 Wisconsin, and No. 20 Purdue. Illinois received votes, but could not crack the top 25 this week.
A trio of Hawkeyes will be playing in their home state this weekend. Alessandra Dietz (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Alex Lovell (Leonard, Mich.), and Erin Leppek (Rochester Hills, Mich.) all hail from Michigan and look forward to this trip each year and relish the opportunity to play in front of family and friends.
Iowa volleyball continues to have success in the digs category, moving up from 26th to 22nd with a 16.63 digs per set average following the sixth week of the season. The Hawkeyes also pace the Big Ten in the category with a total of 1081 digs in 2013. The team’s success in this category is largely due to the efforts of senior libero, Bethany Yeager. Yeager leads the team in digs with 285 and averages 4.38 digs per set, which currently ranks her second in the Big Ten. Three additional Hawkeyes have posted more than 100 digs on the season, including Alex Lovell with 164 (2.52 per set), Alyssa Klostermann with 162 (2.49 per set), and Nikki Dailey with 129 (2.30 per set).
Senior setter Nikki Dailey is currently 6th in career assists with a total of 2882, 16th in career service aces with 84, and 17th in career digs with 954. Outside hitter Alex Lovell is 60 kills from becoming the 17th in Iowa volleyball history to reach the 1,000 career kills mark. The junior has a total of 940 kills heading into this weekend’s action. Libero Bethany Yeager is closing in on the all-time digs record of 1,931 held by Janet Moylan (1987-90). The senior is currently third all-time with a total of 1870 career digs.
TARGETING THE TOP
The Hawkeyes have defeated a ranked opponent in four of Dingman’s five previous seasons. Iowa will have plenty of opportunities to continue that trend, as eight of its Big Ten opponents appear in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll. Iowa’s top 25 victories since 2008 include: vs. No. 18 Wisconsin (3-0, 2008); vs. No. 18 Michigan State (3-0, 2009); vs. No. 16 Michigan (3-1, 2010); at No. 12 Purdue (3-0, 2012).
TOP OF THE STAT LINE
Alex Lovell, who led the Hawkeyes in kills as a freshman and sophomore, paces Iowa with 246 kills so far in 2013 for a 3.78 kills per set average. Bethany Yeager, who has led the team in digs in each of her three seasons, has a team-most 285 digs this year for a 4.38 digs per set average. Alyssa Klostermann has dished out a team-most 331 assists (5.09 per set), and Alessandra Dietz has a team-high 62 blocks (0.95 per set). Klostermann and Dietz also lead the team in service aces, notching 17 apiece for a 0.26 per set average. Leading the team with a .322 hitting percentage is Dietz.
A trio of Hawkeyes recorded a double-double in the first 16 matches of the 2013 season. Outside hitter Alex Lovell has recorded a total of nine this season, posting 10 or more kills and 10 or more digs on each occasion. Also notching nine double-doubles this season is setter Alyssa Klostermann. She has earned each of her double-doubles in the assists and digs categories. Fellow setter Nikki Dailey has a total of six double-doubles in the season thus far also breaking into double digits in assists and digs on each occasion.
Following this weekend’s matches at Michigan State and Michigan, Iowa volleyball returns to Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a pair of Big Ten Conference matches. The Hawkeyes take on Purdue on Friday, Oct. 18 and Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 19. Both matches are slated to begin at 7 p.m. CT and will be shown on the Big Ten Digital Network.
NOTHING BUT THE BEST
Iowa became the sixth college team in the country to receive a Taraflex Sport M Plus floor on Sept. 19. The portable playing surface, which lies on top of the basketball court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, has been the Olympic volleyball surface of choice since 1976. The Hawkeyes played on their new floor for the first time on Sept. 21 against Iowa State.
LINK UP WITH THE HAWKEYES
To keep up with Iowa volleyball, like University of Iowa Volleyball on Facebook and follow @IowaVolleyball on Twitter. Follow @IowaVB_Live, for more frequent in-match tweets, play-by-play, statistics, and more. Don’t forget to use #IowaVB.
Season tickets are two-for-$30 and include a complimentary Hawkeye t-shirt. All season ticket holders receive snacks and drinks in the Hadley Club rom following the second set of each home match. Contact the UI Ticket Office at 1-800-IA-HAWKS or visit hawkeyesports.com to place your season ticket order.