Iowa volleyball prepares for Huskers


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The Iowa volleyball players know they can’t win matches without playing fundamentally sound volleyball.
Success begins with the fundamentals in the Big Ten, and so far this season, the Hawkeyes (10-11, 2-6 Big Ten) have been up and down in their serving and passing. Iowa has committed 133 service errors on the season but has recorded 92 service aces.

“We’re going to have to serve tougher than we did against Wisconsin,” assistant coach Ben Boldt said about today’s match against No. 4 Nebraska. “I like what our passing is doing. Our tempo is good, and our offense looks pretty good. But Nebraska is a top-5 team, and it presents a lot of matchup problems for us.”

The Hawkeyes will have a hard time trying to get the Cornhuskers (15-2, 7-1) out of rhythm. Nebraska ranks 15th in the NCAA in kills per set (14.43) and fifth in hitting percentage (.309). The Cornhuskers are also 19th in the nation in blocks per set (2.84).

“We’re still just trying to win the serve-pass game — that’s the most crucial part of the volleyball,” senior defensive specialist Allison Straumann said.

Serving the ball in volleyball could be seen as equivalent to the kicking game in football. Iowa has a better chance of making opponents uncomfortable with their positioning if the Hawkeyes can pin the other team in spots they’re not used to on the court.

“Technically, we want to make sure our serving is tough,” junior hitter Rachael Bedell said. “Nebraska is obviously a big and physical team, so we’re going to need to get them out of system to make it a competitive game.”

Iowa can’t underestimate Nebraska’s depth. Head coach John Cook’s team has eight women who are 6 feet or taller.

“When it comes to [the opponent’s] fourth and fifth players making plays, it comes down to things like serve ,and pass, and blocking,” Boldt said. “Players have to make plays, and whichever team can do that will come out on top.”

The Iowa coaches expect their squad to continue the growth they’ve shown since winning matches on the road against Indiana and then-No. 12 Purdue on Oct. 5-6. But to do that, the Hawkeyes need all the players to consistently play up to their potential.

“We’re happy with the way we’ve been playing, but once again, we’re being really inconsistent,” setter Nikki Dailey said. “We’re playing high-level sets but then going back to playing average sets. Within the overall picture, we know we have what it takes [to win matches]; it’s just being consistent with the little things.”

Focusing on the simple aspects of volleyball, such as serving and passing or being able to block efficiently, will turn the Hawkeyes into consistent competitors in the Big Ten.

Until then, however, Iowa will have to make sure that it doesn’t doom itself in matches with inexcusable mistakes.

“If we just play good Hawkeye volleyball and don’t try to overcompensate in certain areas and just have fun,” Straumann said. “We’ll be able to knock off a team like Nebraska.”

In today's issue:

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.