Iowa V-Baller Bedell leads with emotion


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Iowa volleyball player Rachael Bedell displays her emotions every game. Whether they are positive or negative, it’s the way she plays.

But emotions are a double-edged sword — one minute, they could be propelling a player or team to victory, the next they could be the reason a match is lost. This is why Bedell’s emotions are so crucial to her team’s success.

“Rachael’s emotions are definitely important for us,” team captain Bethany Yeager said. “Whenever she does something well, she comes down with so much excitement. We all feed off that. Even if she’s not having her best match, she still encourages us and pushes us on the emotional level.”

Up until this year, Bedell, a former Daily Iowan employee, allowed her emotions to get the best of her. As a freshman, she saw some success playing in 29 games for Iowa with 22 starts. Her 189 kills and 71 digs during her first year showed how versatile a player she could be. Her sophomore season, however, she struggled and didn’t get the playing time she hoped for.

“Last year wasn’t ideal for me in any way,” Bedell said. “Near the end of [this] preseason, I started to put too much pressure on myself … So coach pulled me aside and [told me] to have fun. [She said], ‘If you’re going to hit every ball out, smile while you’re doing it. If you’re going to hit every ball in, smile while you’re doing it.’ ”

Even though Iowa head coach Sharon Dingman doesn’t know why Bedell’s competitive emotions vary, she still enjoys watching her on the court when these emotions do take over.

“She has shown the ability to raise her level of play unlike we have seen in her two previous years,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “She’ll be struggling through a first set, maybe a second set, and then she starts to light it up. Its really fun to watch her raise her level of play.”

Bedell has played significantly better during the first two weeks of season than last year’s campaign. She is second on the team with 93 kills and second with 101.5 points, while also contributing 73 digs.

Her leadership has improved also. The Plano, Texas, native is always vocal on the court and constantly tries to keep her teammates involved.

“When we’re flustered, I’ll try to go around to talk to people,” Bedell said. “It’s easier to start talking when other people are talking.”

Today at the Iowa State Tournament, Bedell will have to stay vocal with her teammates and keep her emotions positive. The Hawkeyes’ third tournament is going to be their most difficult of the nonconference season, in large part because of their second game against No. 18 Iowa State.

Dingman, however, isn’t worried about Bedell, and she knows at any given moment she can light it up on the court.

“Rachael is strong mentally,” Dingman said. “What I’ve been impressed with his her steadiness. When she’s not playing well, she still looks like she’s hitting .500. I love her ability to raise her level of play, thus raise our team’s level of play. We need her experience on the floor.”

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