Nov. 19, 2012
The University of Iowa volleyball team (10-21, 2-16) concludes action this week. Iowa travels to No. 10 Nebraska (21-6, 13-5) on Wednesday for its final road contest. The Hawkeyes and Huskers will meet at 7 p.m. (CT) in the NU Coliseum in Lincoln, Neb. Iowa wraps up play on Saturday, hosting 2011 national runner-up Illinois for senior night. The Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini (12-16, 6-12) will meet at 7 p.m. on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
LIVE ACTION ON YOUR TV
Iowa's match against Illinois will be broadcast live on Mediacom (MC22).
HAWKEYES TO HONOR STRAUMANN
Iowa will honor its lone senior, Allison Straumann, following the conclusion of Saturday night's match against Illinois. The Cary, Ill., native has appeared in 69 career matches. She is one of three team captains. Straumann has ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten in services aces, in leagues games, for most of the season.
HAWKEYE VOLLEYBALL - ON THE AIR
Fans can follow Hawkeye volleyball at AM-800 KXIC or at hawkeyesports.com, where play-by-play voice of the Hawkeyes Ian Martin will call the action throughout the season. Hawkeye All-Access, a subscription service committed to providing quality coverage of Hawkeye athletic events, will stream every Big Ten contest this season. Both matches this week will be available at hawkeyesports.com.
Iowa's match at Michigan State on Nov. 2 marked Sharon Dingman's 700th as a head coach. Her career record stands at 391-314 in 22 seasons.
OFFICIAL IOWA VOLLEYBALL BLOG/LIVE STATS
Live blogging and live stats (Gametracker) will be available for both matches this week. Hawkeye manager Libbie Hillmer hosts the live blog, providing scoring updates and interactive content from the Official Iowa Volleyball Blog. Visit the Iowa volleyball page at hawkeyesports.com for links to Gametracker and the live blog.
NEBRASKA (Nov. 21)
Head Coach: John Cook (380-38, 13th season)
2012 Record/Home/Conference: 21-6 overall/12-1/13-5
Series Record/Last Meeting: Neb. leads, 17-0/Oct. 17, Nebraska (3-0)
Take Note: 9-4 against ranked opponents this season
ILLINOIS (Nov. 24)
Head Coach: Kevin Hambly (94-36, fourth season)
2012 Record/Away/Conference: 12-16 overall/4-7/6-12
Series Record/Last Meeting: Illinois leads, 50-13/2011, Illinois, 3-1
Take Note: 2011 NCAA runner-up
THE LAST MEETING - NEBRASKA
Iowa fell in straight sets to fourth-ranked Nebraska on Oct. 17 (22-25, 14-25, 9-25). The match, Iowa's annual Breast Cancer Awareness -- Attacking Breast Cancer Night, was played on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in front of a crowd of 1,719, the 10th largest in program history. Rachael Bedell notched a match-best 14 kills.
THE LAST MEETING - ILLINOIS
The Hawkeyes last faced Illinois on Nov. 26, 2011, in Champaign, Ill. Iowa fell, 3-1 (25-16, 25-22, 18-25, 25-20). Three Hawkeye seniors, Megan Eskew, Mallory Husz and Tiffany Nilges, competed in their final match. Eskew recorded 11 kills and seven digs. Husz tallied nine kills and Nilges notched 13 kills and seven digs. Nikki Dailey dished out a team-high 51 assists and picked up 16 digs. Bethany Yeager led the team with a match-high 22 digs.
The Hawkeyes (10-21, 2-16) have two contests remaining. Iowa hosted the Hawkeye Challenge and made three weekend road trips before beginning their 20-match Big Ten schedule. The entire 33-match schedule included 18 contests against teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Iowa played a home-away series with every Big Ten team except Illinois and Northwestern for the second-straight season. The Hawkeyes face the Illini once (at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Nov. 24) and the Wildcats once (at Northwestern, Oct. 21).
MOVING ON UP
Bethany Yeager became the 14th Hawkeye in program history to surpass 1,000 career digs in Iowa's season-opening sweep of Chicago State. The junior registered a match-high 21 digs in the win. Yeager registered a team-high 20 digs on Oct. 13 against Wisconsin to pass Kari Hamel for fifth all-time in program history with 1,388 in her career. On Oct. 21 at Northwestern, Yeager turned in 11 digs to become the fifth Hawkeye in program history to eclipse 1,400 career digs. The Brenham, Texas, native is second in the Big Ten with 508 digs (4.50/set) and sits fifth in program history with 1,497 career digs. She is one of two league players with 500 or more digs this season.
IN GOOD COMPANY
Nikki Dailey ranks sixth in career assists (2,507) and stands ninth in league assists (9.28/set) this season. The junior has led Iowa in assists in every match this season. Dailey is one of eight players in the Big Ten to eclipse 1,000 assists this season.
RETURNING LEADERS PACING THE HAWKEYES
In 2011, Alex Lovell led the team in kills and became Iowa's first freshman since 2005 to surpass 300 kills in a single season, recording 312. Junior Nikki Dailey led the team a year ago in assists (1,152) and service aces (33). Junior Bethany Yeager led Iowa in digs (527) for the second time in as many years. All three are leading the same respective categories this season. Lovell is pacing the Hawkeyes with 357 kills. Dailey has registered 1049 assists and 24 service aces. Yeager leads Iowa with 508 digs.
HOME AND AWAY
After playing a stretch of seven of 10 at home, the Hawkeyes are concluding the season with three of four on the road. Prior to the home stretch, Iowa played 13 of 15 matches away from Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are 3-10 at home, 5-1 in neutral site matches and 2-10 in true road matches.
BIG TEN GOES BIG IN POLLS
The Big Ten is represented by five teams in the AVCA top 25 poll. The five teams equal the most of any conference. Penn State is No. 1 and defending league champion Nebraska is No. 10. Minnesota ranks 11th, Ohio State sits at No. 14 and Purdue ranks 22nd. Michigan State and Michigan are both receiving votes.
BIG TEN, BIG TIME
The two contests this week conclude Iowa's 20-match conference slate. Five of the last six national championships have been claimed by current members of the Big Ten. Nebraska won the title in 2006 before Penn State captured four straight (2007-10). Illinois finished as the national runner-up to UCLA a year ago. Five league teams are currently ranked in the top 25 (out of 328 Division I programs). Big Ten teams finished with a combined 114-25 nonconference record.
The Hawkeyes have defeated a ranked team in four of Dingman's five seasons. 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 are 1-10 against ranked foes this season. Iowa swept 12th-ranked Purdue on Oct. 6, 3-0, on the road. The victory marked Dingman's first win over a ranked foe on the road. No. 12 Purdue is the highest-ranked team the Hawkeyes have defeated during her tenure.
DOUBLE THE FUN
Three Hawkeyes have registered a double-double in 2012. Junior Nikki Dailey leads the way with 17 double-doubles, eclipsing her team-best total of 14 a season ago. She has turned in eight double-doubles in league action. Sophomore Alex Lovell has turned in eight and junior Rachael Bedell has notched six.
Senior Allison Straumann and juniors Bethany Yeager and Nikki Dailey were voted team captains for the 2012 season. Straumann, Iowa's lone senior, has appeared in 69 career matches. Yeager and Dailey have started every match since the beginning of last season.
Juniors Bethany Yeager and Nikki Dailey have started every match since the start of the 2011 season. Dailey has not missed a set since last season, while Yeager, an Academic All-Big Ten honoree, has only missed one set in two-plus seasons at Iowa (341-of-342).
FILLING CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA
Iowa and Nebraska played in front of a crowd of 1,719 on Oct. 17 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the 10th largest in program history. Since head coach Sharon Dingman's arrival in 2008, the Hawkeyes have experienced nine of the school's top 10 all-time attendance figures, and 18 of the top 21. On November 11, 2009, the Hawkeyes eclipsed the 3,000 mark for the first time in program history when 3,102 fans saw Iowa host top-ranked Penn State.
Hawkeye sophomores Alessandra Dietz, Erin Leppek and Alex Lovell hail from the state of Michigan. Dietz and Lovell were high school teammates (2007-10) at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The two led Marian to three division championships from 2008-10 and a pair of state titles in 2009 and 2010. Dietz and Lovell played club volleyball with sophomore Erin Leppek. The trio led the 17 team to a national title at the 2010 USA Volleyball National Championships and a fifth place finish at the AAU National Championships.
MICHIGAN NATIVES LEAD IOWA IN GREAT LAKES STATE
At Michigan State (Nov. 2), Alex Lovell, a Michigan native, paced Iowa with 12 kills, hitting a career-best .476. Fellow sophomores and Michigan natives Alessandra Dietz and Erin Leppek recorded six and four kills, respectively. Rachael Bedell added seven kills. Junior Nikki Dailey led Iowa with a match-high 28 assists. Classmate Bethany Yeager recorded 14 digs, equaling a match-best. Lovell led Iowa at Michigan (Nov. 3), recording 10 kills.
A BIG ROAD WEEKEND
The Hawkeyes won at Indiana on Oct. 5, 3-1, and at 12th-ranked Purdue on Oct. 6, 3-0, to earn their first conference wins of the season. The victory in West Lafayette, Ind., marked Iowa's first win at Purdue and first sweep of the Boilermakers since Nov. 10, 2000. It also marked the fourth win over a ranked foe for head coach Sharon Dingman, and her first victory over a ranked team on the road. No. 12 Purdue is the highest-ranked team the Hawkeyes have defeated during her tenure. It also marked the first time Iowa has won two-straight league contests since 2008 and consecutive league road matches since 2005.
LOVELL NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Alex Lovell was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 8 for her efforts in Iowa's two road victories. It marked Iowa's first Player of the Week honor since Sept. 18, 2006, when Melanie Meister received the recognition. It was also the Hawkeyes' first weekly honor since Christina Meister was tabbed Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 7, 2009. The Leonard, Mich., native equaled junior Rachael Bedell with a team-best 37 kills in the two wins. Lovell hit a team-high .297 and added three aces and 14 digs. She turned in 41 points, averaging 5.29 kills per set. At Indiana, she tallied 13 kills, two service aces and eight digs in the four-set win, Iowa's first league victory of the season. In the win over the 12th-ranked Boilermakers, Lovell registered a career-best and match-high 24 kills to go along with an ace and six digs.
The Hawkeyes have six newcomers on this year's roster. They include sophomore transfers Alessandra Dietz (Loyola-Marymount, 6-1, MB) and Katie Kelley (Maryland, 5-5, DS), and true freshmen Julianne Blomberg (5-11, DS/OH), Kathleen Dailey (5-11, DS/OH), Erin Radke (6-1, RS) and Anne Yanda (5-11, S). Five newcomers -- Dietz, Kelley, Yanda, Radke, Blomberg -- have seen action in 2012. Dietz has started the last 28 contests and is third on the team with 187 kills. Kelley has seen action in 22 matches. Blomberg and Yanda have played in 11, and 10 contests, respectively. Radke competed in 17 matches this season, with 10 starts, before suffering an ACL injury.
YOU FROM AROUND HERE?
Three Hawkeyes on the 2012 roster hail from the state of Iowa. All three are from Iowa City: sophomores Kari Mueller and Katie Kelley, and redshirt freshman Alli O'Deen. Mueller competed at City High School while Kelley and O'Deen led West High School to the 2010 state title.
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
Become fans of the official Iowa Volleyball fan page by going to facebook.com/iowavolleyball to follow the Hawkeyes on Facebook. Fans can also follow the Black and Gold on Twitter (@IowaVolleyball) and YouTube (youtube.com/uiowavolleyball).