Volleyball ready for tough Iowa State

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Ting Xuan Tan

Iowa’s no. 7 Alyssa Klostermann waits for a signal to serve during a volleyball match at the Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, Sept. 2 , 2016. Iowa defeated Western Illinois 3-1. (The Daily Iowan/Ting Xuan Tan)

By James Kay

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The Hawkeye volleyball team will travel to Ames today for a matchup against Iowa State.

In last year’s match against Iowa State, the Hawkeyes (6-1) took down the Cyclones for the first time since 1997. To put that in perspective, head coach Bond Shymansky had graduated from Iowa two years prior to that victory.

But this is a new year, and the Hawkeyes will have an uphill battle going against a tough Iowa State team. The team is going into the match wanting to solidify its place as one of the more competitive teams in the Big Ten and the state.

“We are going in trying to prove last year wasn’t a fluke,” said senior Alyssa Klostermann. “I think we are ready to do that and let Iowa continue to be a Hawkeye State.”

Sophomore Kasey Reuter had similar thoughts about the rivalry.

“The theme this week has been Hawkeye State,” she said. “We want to prove that we are a great team, we are in a very competitive conference, and I think that we are pushed every single day in the Big Ten. This is one of our biggest challenges before we enter Big Ten play.”

Both Klostermann and Reuter are Iowa natives, which makes this game more special. Klostermann grew up watching Hawkeye volleyball and understands the significance of the matchup.

“As an Iowa resident, it was cool growing up being able to watch the rivalry,” Klostermann said. “Now that is me, and I am in it, [the rivalry] meaning is at a whole different level.”

Shymansky also has experience with the rivalry. He is a Hawkeye graduate and also began his career as an assistant coach at Iowa State.

“This is one of the best competition series in all of sports,” he said. “There are a lot of memories and still some great people that I have enjoyed over there.”

Above the personal relationships with their opponents and talk surrounding the match comes the execution on the court.

The Hawkeyes will face one of the best defensive specialists in the country in Branen Berta. She is in the top 15 in the country in digs per set and poses a threat to the Hawkeyes, considering their offensive plan is centered on their strong outside hitters.

Klostermann doesn’t see Berta having too much of an effect, however.

“We aren’t really worried about their defense at all because of the outside hitters that we have,” she said. “[Berta] is not going to be able to dig it.”

Shymansky touched on what his team needs to do to take out Berta.

“When you have a great defender like that, it’s really on the team to make sure that they aren’t hitting or serving balls at her,” said Shymansky. “What we are going to need is balance offensively so our outside hitters will need to continue to be leaders for our team.”

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