Hawkeye volleyball seeks much-needed win


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

After a tough road trip and an even tougher week of practice, the Iowa volleyball team is ready to host Indiana and No. 11 Purdue this weekend. The Hawkeyes will challenge the Hoosiers at 7 p.m. today and the Boilermakers at 7 p.m. Saturday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Two road losses on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 brought Iowa to the bottom of the Big Ten, where they are tied with Indiana for last place at 0-4.

But now the Hawkeyes will compete on their own floor, and the timing couldn't be better for the tired Hawkeyes.

"We need a little love right now," head coach Sharon Dingman said. "It will be nice for [the players] to be at home, where their fans are going to love them. Not only did Michigan and Michigan State beat us up pretty badly [last weekend], the coaches have done their fair share of beating up on the players this week too."

By holding practices at 6 a.m. and raising the intensity of the Hawkeyes' physical workouts, Dingman and her coaching staff have tried to get the team "out of routine" this week. The hope, she said, is that adding a little variety to the practices will add a win onto Iowa's record.

"Sometimes, you can get a little complacent, so we got a little uncomfortable," Dingman said. "Clearly, your opponents are going to make you uncomfortable — so how are you going to manage it?"

Despite the unfamiliarity of the week, the team said it's important to be in the home arena this weekend.

The home-court advantage is clear. Indiana's University Gymnasium holds only 2,000 spectators. Purdue's Intercollegiate Athletics Facility can only seat 2,228.

Carver-Hawkeye Arena holds 15,500.

"We love Carver and feel at home there, but I think it really does shock a lot of people from other teams if they don't know what to expect," sophomore libero Bethany Yeager said. "Carver is a really big place compared to a lot of other volleyball gyms."

Having a significantly larger arena makes it hard for other teams to adjust to the depth perception and abundance of extra space, so Iowa's home-court advantage is invaluable.

"Winning at home is so critical because the Big Ten is really a tough conference," Dingman said. "Winning on the road, you have to combat all those other things. That's why we're playing at home — we've clearly got a big advantage in our facility, and we absolutely have to take advantage of that."

The team practices on the main floor instead of in Carver-Hawkeye's new practice facility in the days leading up to weekend home matches in an attempt to become as comfortable in competition as possible.

"I feel at home in Carver," setter Nikki Dailey said. "The practice room is so nice, but it's new and we haven't had as much experience in there. But in Carver, it really hits home for me. My intensity automatically rises because of that."

The Hawkeyes are still searching for their first conference win and have the greatest chance of finding it against Indiana, a team that's also 0-4 in the Big Ten.

"Our coaches have been pushing even harder now, because we want the win," Dailey said. "We're not like the teams that have already gotten a couple wins and can afford a loss. We need to win. Now.

"We have to push harder and being in our own gym … it's going to be a powerful combination for us."

In today's issue:

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.