Nov. 13, 2013
The Hawkeyes take on No. 19 Michigan and No. 16 Michigan State on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16, respectively. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. CT, and will be covered by the Big Ten Digital Network. Mediacom will also broadcast Saturday's match against Michigan State live on MC22. Live audio, video, and Gametracker are available for fans at hawkeyesports.com.
Friday's match against Michigan is Military Appreciation Night. The Iowa volleyball program and fans will express their appreciation for those who have served and currently serve at the 7 p.m. competition. The first 50 students in the door that show their student IDs will also receive a free hot dog. Saturday marks Junior Hawk Club Night, and members of the club can register to win Iowa volleyball prizes. The Hawkeyes will also sign autographs on the court after the match.
Senior libero Bethany Yeager is just two digs from tying and three digs from breaking the current school record of 1,931 career digs. The Brenham, Texas, native, who averages 4.33 digs per set in her career, has led the Hawkeyes in digs in the past three seasons and currently paces the team with a total of 407 digs in her 26 matches played in 2013.
Several upperclassmen on the Hawkeye volleyball team have accomplished impressive career milestones during the 2013 season. Junior Alex Lovell became the 17th player in Iowa volleyball history to surpass the 1,000 career kills threshold in her 88th career match at Penn State on Oct. 26. Senior Nikki Dailey became the 6th player in school history to reach the 3,000 career assists mark when she dished out 26 against Northwestern on Nov. 1. She also reached the 1,000 career digs threshold when she posted 11 digs at Minnesota on Nov. 8. Dailey became just the 11th Hawkeye to reach the 1,000 mark in two statistical categories, and will be honored prior to the match Friday evening for her accomplishments.
THE CAREER CLIMB
Senior Bethany Yeager is currently tied for second on the all-time career digs list with a total of 1,929 digs. Senior Nikki Dailey is sixth in career assists with 3,050, 14th in career service aces with 19, and 15th in digs with 1,014. Junior Alex Lovell is 16th all-time with 1,035 career kills, while senior Rachael Bedell is 19th all-time with 850 kills.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
No. 19 Michigan brings a 16-9 overall record and a 6-8 Big Ten mark into the Friday night match. The Wolverines are led by 15th year head coach Mark Rosen, associate head coach Leisa Rosen, and assistant coach Erin Virtue. The roster is made up of three freshmen, seven sophomores, one junior, and five seniors. Lexi Erwin leads the team in kills with 316 (3.22 per set), and Lexi Dannemiller has dished out a team-most 1,049 assists (10.81 per set). Tiffany Morales paces the squad with 397 digs (4.01 per set), while Kristalyn Goode leads the blocking front with 100 (1.03 per set). As a team, Michigan owns a .240 hitting percentage and averages 13.66 kills per set.
THE LAST MEETING
Iowa fell to Michigan 3-1 in the last meeting between the two teams on Oct. 12, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Alex Lovell and Rachael Bedell paced the Hawkeye offense with 12 kills apiece, and Erin Leppek set a career-high with seven blocks in the match. Michigan leads Iowa 24-36 in all-time meetings. The last time the Hawkeyes defeated the Wolverines was on Nov. 13, 2010. Iowa won 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23).
A LOOK AT THE SPARTANS
No. 16 Michigan State is 8-6 in Big Ten play and 19-7 overall heading into the weekend. Ninth-year head coach Cathy George leads the team along with associate head coach Russ Carney and assistant coach Mike Gawlik. The roster is comprised of six freshmen, three sophomores, four juniors, and four seniors. Lauren Wicinski leads the team in kills with 400 (4.35 per set), and Kristen Kelsey has a team-most 632 assists (6.80 per set). Kori Moster has a team-high 440 digs (4.73 per set), while Alexis Matthews leads the blocking effort with 139 (1.51 per set). As a team, Michigan State averages 12.68 kills per set and has a hitting percentage of .253.
THE LAST MEETING
Iowa dropped its last match against Michigan State 3-0 in East Landsing, Mich., on Oct. 11, 2013. Alex Lovell recorded a team-high 12 kills in the match, while Lauren Brobst led the way with a .400 hitting percentage. The Spartans lead the Hawkeyes 24-41 in all-time meetings. Iowa last defeated Michigan State on Oct. 10, 2009 by a score of 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-19).
BIG TEN, B1G DEAL
A total of eight Big Ten Conference teams appeared in this week's release of the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll. No. 2 Penn State and No. 9 Nebraska appear in the top 10, while No. 11 Minnesota, No. 14 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan State, No. 18 Purdue, and No. 19 Michigan made the top 20. After receiving votes for the past few weeks, No. 25 Illinois returns to the rankings and rounds out the poll. With eight teams in the top 25, the Big Ten is the most represented conference in the poll.
Iowa volleyball is currently second among Big Ten teams in digs with a total of 1,499 (15.14 per set) and third in service aces with 131 (1.32 per set) on the season. Bethany Yeager is fourth in the league in digs with 407 (4.11 per set), and Nikki Dailey is 10th in service aces with 22 (0.24 per set). Alex Lovell is eighth in kills with 341 (3.44 per set) and ninth in points with 373.5 (3.77 per set).
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.
TARGETING THE TOP
The Hawkeyes have defeated a ranked opponent in four of Dingman's five previous seasons at the helm of the volleyball program. Iowa will have several more opportunities to continue that trend in the final six matches of the season, as eight of its Big Ten opponents currently 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).
The Hawkeyes continue Big Ten action with a pair of matches on the road at Indiana on Nov. 22 and at Purdue on Nov. 23. The conference season concludes with a midweek home match against Nebraska on Nov. 27 and a weekend home competition against Ohio State on Nov. 30. The match against the Buckeyes will serve as Senior Night for Rachael Bedell, Grace Burns, Nikki Dailey, and Bethany Yeager.
STILL TIME FOR TICKETS
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 room 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.