Cabel’s long journey to in-state Hawkeyes


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Danielle Cabel was a two-time first-team All-State selection at Davenport Assumption, her brother attended Iowa, and she grew up a Hawkeye fan. How she came to be playing volleyball for the Hawkeyes, however, isn’t as simple as it seems.

Cabel, a 6-2 outside hitter, was a standout athlete from her first day of high school. She started for Assumption as a freshman and received all-conference honors in her first year. Along with helping the basketball team win a conference title in 2012, Cabel carried Assumption to its first-ever state volleyball tournament appearance and was named first-team All-State as a junior. 

When Assumption was upgraded from Class 3A to Class 4A for Cabel’s senior season, she took the Knights back to the state tournament, and she was named first-team All-State once again.

One would think that a player of Cabel’s stature and ability would be recruited heavily by the Hawkeyes, but no.

“I used to go to Iowa football games when I was little, and my family are Hawkeye people,” Cabel said. “But I was never really recruited by Iowa.”

With no word from the Hawks, Cabel committed to play for Ohio University in the fall of her junior year.

But when Ohio’s head coach, Ryan Theis, accepted a job at Marquette University, a position vacated by Iowa’s Bond Shymansky, Cabel took the chance to re-evaluate.

“I was uncomfortable with the coaching change [at Ohio],” Cabel said. “So it made me rethink my commitment.”

For Shymansky, who had previously recruited Cabel while he was at Marquette, this was an opportunity to make a statement with his new program.

“We were raising the flag to kids everywhere around the state that now is the time,” Shymansky said. “If you’d decided to go somewhere else, you should take a second look … [Cabel and Taylin Alm, previously committed to Pepperdine] saw the window of opportunity here and the direction of the program, and they jumped on board.”

Now that she’s in Iowa City, Cabel is showing the talent and potential she has. The freshman didn’t start but earned playing time as a substitute in her début weekend as a collegian. In three sets, Cabel logged 2 kills, 1 block, and 3 digs.

Both her playing time and, predictably, her production are likely to increase as the season goes on, because Cabel has shown she has the requisite mentality to succeed in the Big Ten.

“As a freshman coming into a Big Ten school with the offense we run, it can be challenging,” senior Alex Lovell said. “But she’s doing a good job of picking it up. She has a very positive attitude and is always willing to come in early or stay extra to get reps. She’s definitely ready to learn and really excited to learn.”

So it wasn’t a traditional recruiting process, but Cabel got to stay home and play for Iowa. For an Iowa program that had let some of the in-state talent escape, Shymansky hopes Cabel’s recruitment has an influence on other recruits.

“I don’t so much worry about how it got to where it was; I was just concerned with how to get [Cabel] here,” Shymansky said. “The message that I and my coaching staff want all the kids in the state to hear is that we’re here now, we’re taking this thing to the top level, and if they’re geared for that, then this is where they should be.”

Follow @KyleFMann on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa volleyball team.

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