September 2013

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Poised for Turnaround By Jil Price M aturity, consistency, and realizing its full potential is the trifecta University of Iowa head volleyball coach Sharon Dingman believes will help the Hawkeyes put together a successful 2013 season. first volleyball Hawkeye to be named Big Ten Player of the Week since 2006. Bedell, who has steadily improved throughout her career and was second on the team in kills with 339, also returns and is ready to push herself even further. "I am excited about the year," said Dingman, who enters her sixth season as Iowa head coach. "Everybody is because once you have a season like we did last year, frankly you can't wait to get back on the court and get rid of everything that you feel from a year ago. Dingman expects junior Alessandra Dietz to have more of an impact after a full year in the Iowa system and the return of Radke, who was sidelined with a knee injury after starting 10 of her 17 matches played as a freshman. "We're looking for consistency. There were many matches last year that we would play a great set, but then we couldn't follow it up with the next set or the next set. We couldn't put three sets together to give us a chance to win. That's one of the things we hope for now that we have an older team." The roster is packed with returning upperclassmen — four seniors and six juniors — including top kill leaders in junior Alex Lovell and senior Rachael Bedell, senior setter Nikki Dailey and senior libero Bethany Yeager. The Hawkeyes also welcome three newcomers and add several others who spent much of the 2012 season out with injuries, including right-side hitter Erin Radke. The squad's strength lies in its core of defensive specialists, led by Yeager, who has started every match of her Hawkeye career (95), played in 347-of-348 sets and enters the season fifth in career digs with 1,522. With a strong group of returning attackers, Dingman expects to see the offense take large strides and give setter Dailey many options in 2013. Lovell has led the team in kills in back-to-back seasons tallying 382 in 2012 and 312 in 2011 and became the "We're going to have the opportunity to score more points, which we have to do if we're going to win," said Dingman. "Having Erin back is going to do that. Alex should be a more mature player this year, Rachael is ready to take on a much bigger role, and Erin Leppek needs to be a more mature player. Alessandra will score more points because our pins are going to be playing at a higher level." The Hawkeyes open the 2013 season on the road with tournaments at Coastal Carolina (Aug. 30-31) and Valparaiso (Sept. 6-7) before returning to CarverHawkeye Arena for the Hawkeye Challenge (Sept. 1314). Dingman says the preseason tournaments are vital in setting the tone for the season. "Overall my expectation would be that we should have a more consistent performance," said Dingman. "Not just from set-to-set, but from night-to-night and throughout the season. That is the big piece I'm looking for — our maturity. "The team is committed to what they want to see happen, and we have four seniors that want to leave their legacy." 11

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