Dec. 28, 2012
2012 IN THE BOOKS
The University of Iowa volleyball team finished the 2012 season with a 10-23 overall record and 2-18 mark in Big Ten action.
LIVE ACTION ON YOUR TV
Iowa had 11 matches shown live during the 2012 season. Two matches were broadcast live on BTN (at Northwestern -- Oct. 21, Penn State -- Oct. 24) and three were seen live on Mediacom (MC22). Eight matches were shown on BTN.com.
HAWKEYES HONOR STRAUMANN
Iowa honored its lone senior, Allison Straumann, following the conclusion of the last match against Illinois. The Cary, Ill., native appeared in 71 career matches. She was one of three team captains as a senior. Straumann ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten in services aces, in leagues games, for most of the season.
Iowa's match at Michigan State on Nov. 2 marked Sharon Dingman's 700th as a head coach. Her career record stands at 391-316 in 22 seasons.
Iowa hosted the Hawkeye Challenge and made three weekend road trips before beginning its 20-match Big Ten schedule. The entire 33-match schedule included 18 contests against teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and 16 that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Iowa played a home-away series with every Big Ten team except Illinois and Northwestern for the second-straight season. The Hawkeyes faced the Illini once (at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Nov. 24) and the Wildcats once (at Northwestern, Oct. 21).
HOME AND AWAY
Iowa played its first 15 matches away from Iowa City. The Hawkeyes went 3-11 at home, 5-1 in neutral site matches and 2-11 in true road matches.
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 finished third in the Big Ten digs (4.48/set) and sits fifth in program history with 1,522 career digs. She moved up nine spots on the all-time list during the season.
Sophomore Alex Lovell finished the year with a team-high 382 kills, the most in a single season since Catherine Smale posted 441 in 2005. Junior Bethany Yeager totaled a career-best 533 digs in 2012 -- the most in a season since 2006, when Emily Hiza registered 545.
ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN SELECTIONS
Six Hawkeyes -- Grace Burns, Erin Leppek, Alex Lovell, Alli O'Deen, Emily Yanny, Bethany Yeager -- were named Academic All-Big Ten. The six selections are the most for the program since 2009.
IN GOOD COMPANY
Nikki Dailey ranks sixth in career assists (2,561) and finished 10th in league assists (9.28/set) during the regular season. The junior led Iowa in assists in every match this season, finishing with 1,103 total assists.
RETURNING LEADERS PACE 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. The trio led Iowa in three of the respective categories in 2012. Lovell paced the Hawkeyes with 382 kills and Yeager led the way with 533 digs. Dailey tallied 1,103 assists. Sophomore Alessandra Dietz led Iowa with 25 service aces. Dailey was second with 24.
BIG TEN, BIG TIME
Five of the last seven 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 in 2011. In 2012, Penn State and Michigan both reached the national semifinals of the NCAA Volleyball Championship, marking the third time the Big Ten has had multiple teams among the Final Four and the sixth straight year that at least one squad has played for the right to go to the title match. The Nittany Lions and Wolverines were two of the conference's seven teams in the NCAA Championship, joining Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue. Seven league teams finished ranked in the top 25 (out of 328 Division I programs). Big Ten teams finished with a combined 114-25 nonconference record.
BIG TEN GOES BIG IN POLLS
The Big Ten is represented by seven teams in the final AVCA top 25 poll, including four in the top 10. The seven teams are the most of any conference. Penn State is No. 3 and Michigan is No. 5. Nebraska sits in seventh and Minnesota in eighth. Purdue (No. 15), Michigan State (No. 16) and Ohio State (No. 22) round out the league rankings.
DOUBLE THE FUN
Three Hawkeyes registered a double-double in 2012. Junior Nikki Dailey led the way with 18 double-doubles, eclipsing her team-best total of 14 a season ago. She turned in nine double-doubles in league action. Sophomore Alex Lovell turned in eight and junior Rachael Bedell notched six.
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). 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 and the highest since defeating No. 11 Michigan at home in 2007 (Sept. 28).
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.
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.
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 (347-of-348). Yeager, Dailey and Alex Lovell played in every set in 2012.
Five Hawkeyes garnered all-tournament honors during the nonconference slate. Juniors Bethany Yeager and Chante' Thompson were both named to the Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team. Juniors Rachael Bedell and Nikki Dailey, and sophomore Alex Lovell, were named to the Golden Grizzly Invitational All-Tournament Team. Dailey and Lovell were named to the Iowa State Challenge All-Tournament Team. Yeager was named to the all-tournament team at the Marquette Invitational, Iowa's final nonconference event.
HAWKEYES CAPTURE SHARE OF ISU TOURNAMENT TITLE
The Hawkeyes finished 2-1 at the Iowa State Challenge, Sept. 7-8, to earn a share of the tournament title. The Hawkeyes opened the tournament with a 3-2 win over Syracuse. Trailing 2-0 at Iowa State later that night, the Hawkeyes rallied to push the match to five sets. The visitors led the fifth set (4-2) before ultimately falling, 3-2, to the 18th-ranked Cyclones. Iowa defeated Eastern Washington in straight-sets to conclude action. Iowa, Syracuse and host Iowa State all finished with 2-1 records after the Orange defeated the Cyclones in the final match of the Iowa State Challenge, 3-2.
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.
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.
The Hawkeyes had six newcomers on the 2012 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 started the last 31 contests and played in all 33. She ranked third on the team with 198 kills. Kelley played in 23 matches, with five starts. Blomberg played in 13 matches, including 11 during league play. She started the last six contests. Yanda saw action in 10 matches. Radke competed in 17 matches, with 10 starts, before suffering an ACL injury.
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.
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).