Coyle’s power blossoms for V-ball

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Ting Xuan Tan

Iowa’s no. 8 Reghan Coyle hits the ball during a volleyball match at the Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 3 , 2016. Iowa defeated Oakland 3-0. (The Daily Iowan/Ting Xuan Tan)

By James Kay

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The Hawkeye volleyball team (8-2) is on what anybody in the sport would say is a considerable high after a subpar season a year ago.

Its most recent success has come from the evolution of sophomore Reghan Coyle and her overwhelming power on the offensive end of the court.

Coyle has made enormous strides in her development as a player. She ranks 40th in the country in hit percentage (.391) after hitting .191 last season, and she continues to establish herself as a lethal weapon for the Hawkeyes.

“She is smashing balls in front of the 10-foot line,” said sophomore Libby Koukol. “She has been putting balls away and showing people she can compete with the Big Ten.”

Coyle’s emergence as a dominant force did not come easy. With the Hawkeyes lacking depth on the frontline, head coach Bond Shymansky has relied on Coyle to shore up that aspect of the game.

“She is a player in our program who we have asked to do virtually everything, and she has done it very well,” he said. “Her versatility has helped our team’s ability to win. Now, as she is getting into a stronger role, she can really focus on being excellent in one position that has allowed her to blossom.”

Despite being out of her comfort zone, Coyle uses her experience as a versatile player to benefit her game.

“I played on the right side throughout my high-school career, so it was kind of like a new thing for me,” she said. “I think I adapted well, and it made me into the player I am now.”

Coyle’s development and work ethic has caught the attention of her teammates.

“She is very dedicated and has been working hard ever since she got here,” said junior Jess Janota. “She’s willing to work at it and always working so she can benefit the team.”

Coyle’s coming-out-party came in Carver-Hawkeye against Penn State on Nov. 11, 2015, when she recorded 7 kills and a career-high 8 digs. What made the game even more special was that she got to play in front of her high-school volleyball team, which had a tournament the same weekend as the match.

“To play in front of my hometown see my first home game was incredible,” she said. “It meant a lot to me.”

Even with all of the hard work that goes into her game, Coyle is considered to be one of the jokesters on the team. Koukol, who lived down the hall from Coyle in their dorm freshman year, loves Coyle’s dry, laconic humor.

“She is the funniest person in the world,” Koukol said. “If I’m having a bad day, I know a little comment from her can make my week.”

Last year, the soft-spoken Coyle didn’t let her coaches in on her humor. Now, as an established member of the team, she hasn’t shied away from the coaching staff.

“It has taken [Coyle] a little while to unleash that on me, but now that she has, she thinks she is funnier than she actually is,” Shymansky said, joking. “I try to keep her in check, but I think it usually goes other way around, and she is constantly putting me in my place, which I think is pretty great.”

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