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New era brings new emphasis to in-state volleyball talent

BY KYLE MANN | SEPTEMBER 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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The buzz around Carver-Hawkeye Arena regarding new Iowa volleyball head coach Bond Shymansky has been overwhelmingly positive in the early months of his reign. The Iowa City native has several qualities important to a good coach: He’s personable, positive, and a knowledgeable teacher of the game. What Iowa fans and residents should be most excited about, however, is that he is a passionate recruiter.

And now, Shymansky is focusing on Iowa’s in-state talent in the cross hairs.

“We are a sport that can build success on in-state talent,” he said. “It’s where we’re spending about 80 or 90 percent of our recruiting effort right now, and we know we can build a winner on in-state kids.”

The Hawkeyes have strung together a few underwhelming seasons, but luckily, that isn’t quite representative of the level of volleyball talent in the state. Rich Kearn of recruitingregirstry.com, said the state of Iowa produced the ninth-most Division-I players from 2001-2013.

“Every year, there are at least two or three top-level Division-I recruits in our state,” Shymansky said. “Now, we’ve got to get them.”

There is a surprisingly low number of Iowa natives on the roster, particularly in the upper classes.

Only two of the juniors and seniors on the team, Kari Mueller and Alli O’Deen, are Iowans. With that said, former coach Sharon Dingman’s final recruiting class did bring in two of the state’s top talents.
Alyssa Klosterman, who has shone early in her Hawkeye career, was first-team All-State at Dubuque Wahlert, and Lauren Brobst also received all-state honorable mention honors at Bishop Heelan in Sioux City. The now-sophomores followed a recruiting class in 2012 that included no Iowans.

“That’s something very key to be scouting, because you always find the people who love to play for their state. That’s something that I love; being able to represent the state I was born in,” Klostermann said. “Recruiting from Iowa is definitely key, and there are a lot of talented girls who come from here.”

Shymansky then brought in a six-member recruiting class, two of Dingman’s and four of his own recruits. And just as he would like, that included two of the top players in Iowa.

There were three seniors named to the 4A 2013 first-team All-State squad: Abby Caldwell of Waverly-Shell Rock who now runs cross country at Iowa State, and Danielle Cabel of Bettendorf and Kaylee Smith of Indianola now play volleyball for the Hawkeyes.

“It really only takes a few from in the state. We don’t need 50; we only need two or three,” Shymansky said. “When we can get good, hard-working Iowans into our program who are humble, and earnest, and honest, we’ll find ways to win. That opportunity is there for us; we just have to make sure it’s the best players.”

Smith and Cabel certainly seem to fit the bill of the best the state had to offer. Both had impressive high-school and club careers, capped by All-State honors. Now, they are members of a nationally acclaimed recruiting class and were on-floor contributors in their début weekend.

There’s a refreshing new era of Iowa volleyball being ushered in, and it seems that will come with plenty of familiar faces for Iowa fans around the state.

“It’s great being here, knowing how much it means to me and my family,” Smith said.  “We’re huge Hawkeye fans. Actually being here is really surreal. Every time I walk into Carver, I still get the butterflies.”


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