Brobst emerging as a weapon for Hawkeyes

BY KYLE MANN | OCTOBER 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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After beginning the season with an 8-2 record and currently sitting at 8-7, it’s been a couple of weeks since the Hawkeye volleyball team was collectively riding high. With that said, there has been at least one player beginning to come into her own.

Seniors Alex Lovell and Alessandra Dietz have headlined the Iowa attack for most of the first half of the season, but particularly this past weekend during an experiment to see how the offense would look with Lovell off the bench, other players were given an opportunity to shine.

Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Brobst seized the opportunity, and looked the part of a player who can, at times, anchor an offense and pose a dangerous threat to the opposition.

“Brobst did a great job of being a terminator for us,” head coach Bond Shymansky said.

Facing the No. 3 team in the nation in Penn State on Oct. 4, Brobst was tied for a team-high with 6 kills while making only one error on 18 attacks. The previous night versus Ohio State, Brobst led the team with 9 kills, committing only three errors on 22 attacks.

After accounting for 9 kills in Iowa’s home opener against Nebraska on Sept. 27, Brobst has now led the team in three-straight matches and appears to be hitting her stride as an attacker in Shymansky’s new system.

“I’m really learning to step up and be a leader on the court,” Brobst said. “I needed to do that last year, but because we had so many seniors on the team, it was harder to take that role.”

Indeed, the young Hawkeye squad can use leadership on the floor from wherever it can get it. Dietz has remained a rock of a leader for Shymansky in the middle, but Brobst’s significance as only a sophomore is indicative of the sink-or-swim learning curve in the program right now.

“Regardless of who’s in the game, I try to be a senior leader,” Dietz said. “But when you’re playing, it’s not so much senior or freshman, it’s starters have got to take care of their jobs.”

Brobst had a similar experience as a freshman who received significant playing time. She posted respectable numbers but is on pace to blow by them in her sophomore campaign.

Brobst posted 1.38 kills per set and 144 overall in 2013, and she has 102 this season on 2.22 per set. In fact, though only four matches young, Brobst is the team’s leading attacker in Big Ten play with 28 kills (2.55 per set) with a .263 hitting percentage.

It is also worth noting that although only fourth in overall blocks, Brobst’s nine solo blocks is three times as many as the next most by any one player. Four different players have only three.

Despite two sweeps at the hands of good teams last weekend, Shymansky has noticed Brobst’s strong performances.

The sophomore showed promise in 2013 but says an assumption of leadership as a sophomore is helping her to take a step forward this season.

“This year in some rotations, we’d have four freshmen in at a time,” Brobst said. “So I feel like I can step up and make a difference.”

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

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