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Volleyball seeking vengeance in Ames

BY KYLE MANN | SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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The season is nearly a month old, and the 8-2 Hawkeyes are less than a week from opening conference play. But first, they’ve got business to tend to in a place called Ames.

Iowa’s volleyball team will travel to Hilton Coliseum to take on Iowa State Saturday, and as always, tension will run high when the Hawks meet the 5-3 Cyclones.

Iowa fans saw what happened last week in Kinnick Stadium. It was the Hawkeye football team’s “State Week,” which concluded with a tough loss in the waning seconds. Now, the volleyball team will do its best to give Hawkeye fans a lift.

“Oh yes, especially after this weekend,” Erin Radke said. “We’re definitely coming out with a vengeance against this team.”

The football game will certainly fan the flames, but Iowa’s been gunning hard to take down its in-state rivals for quite some time now. The Hawkeyes haven’t defeated the Cyclones since before the dawn of the new century (1997, to be exact).

A win this weekend would be a statement game for coach Bond Shymansky and his team. Besides snapping the remarkably long losing streak, Iowa began last season with a 9-2 record, but a loss to the Cyclones began an eight-game losing streak, and the team eventually finished at 11-21. A victory could be indicative of a change of fortune.

Furthermore, a win would have the Hawkeyes playing their best ball as they reach the beginning of conference play, something Shymansky has had as a goal for several weeks.

“We need to be hitting our peak stride in terms of what we’re capable of and executing as we get ready for Iowa State, and then here goes Big Ten play,” he said. “Everything will come together in time, but that time needs to be now.”

The Hawkeyes have had an eye on this contest, and they would like to use the Iowa State game to launch themselves into the heart of their schedule.

“This rivalry is definitely something we look forward to every season,” Alessandra Dietz said. “Right before we start conference, it’s our preseason goal to go out there and beat Iowa State.”

The Hawkeyes, coming off a 4-0 weekend and tournament championship at the South Dakota State University Challenge, are riding high, and they would appear to have a legitimate chance to finally take down their archrival.

The team made noticeable adjustments after a tough loss to Arizona State on Sept. 7 prior to the Dakota tournament, and that’s sign of not only being well-coached but also being able to translate it to the floor. A team that is well-coached can be dangerous, and even more so with a roster that seems to have more firepower than in the past.

“It’s always really competitive,” Radke said. “So I think this year, knowing what we’re capable of and having Bond behind us, and having such a bigger and better team than we’ve had in the past, I think this is our year.”

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


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