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Iowa volleyball welcomes former Husker as assistant coach

BY CARLOS SOSA | AUGUST 22, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa volleyball’s Emily Yanny is a 6-2 middle blocker. She plays next to Chante’ Thompson, who’s 6-3. Sophomore Alessandra Dietz rounds out the middle standing at 6-1 with a much larger vertical.
But new assistant coach Adam Rollman can hit over their block.

Easily.

Although Rollman will have to stay on the bench during games, his playing experience and knowledge of the sport will be key in helping the Hawkeyes improve on the court this season.

“He’s an opportunity to give more experience to our players,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “He plays pretty high [above the net], so his ability to simulate those taller players helps. He gives us a different dimension.”

One way that Rollman will help is by imitating the bigger outside hitters at such schools as Penn State and Nebraska in practice. His intensity during practice should help the Hawkeyes become more accustomed to taller and stronger hitters.

“He has a really good top-spin serve,” sophomore outside hitter Alex Lovell said. “No one on our team has a top-spin serve that is as difficult as his. So it’s another look for us in practice.”

Rollman’s duties as a practice player go back to his days at the University of Nebraska, where he was on the club volleyball team. And he was able to get some coaching experience at Nebraska Wesleyan in 2011.

“I learned how to relate to the girls and relay different feedback to them,” he said. “I want to make sure they’re keeping a good work ethic and high volleyball IQ. I also want to let them know about the different shots they should be hitting and different areas of the court that are open.”

In the short time Rollman has been an assistant, he has been able to make his presence felt while also contributing as a coach trying to teach younger players.

“He does a really good job at relating with the players, and the relationship he’s created so far is great,” assistant coach Ben Boldt said. “He’s making his biggest impact as a player and as a simulator right now. He can bring the heat when he hits the ball, and that’s what were looking for.”

Rollman’s ties with Iowa are few. He was born and raised in Nebraska. Like fellow assistant coach Boldt, Rollman received a degree from the University of Nebraska. After graduating from school, he looked to join a coaching staff.

“He sought us out,” Boldt said. “I had known about him, and it just went from there.”

Now that Rollman and the rest of the volleyball staff are days away from beginning a new season, their main focus will be to improve the Hawkeyes’ standing in the Big Ten from after their 1-19 finish last season.

“I hope to help the team get better each week, and overall, I want to help get them in the top 10 in the Big Ten,” he said. “That’ll increase our chances to get into the NCAAs.”


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