Picture Iowa, a country of cornfields. Picture nothing but corn fields in sight, except maybe an occasional baseball field – a Field of Dreams. Iowa is supposed to be boring, right?
But on Friday, Iowa City will be the place to be when Michigan opens up its first Big Ten matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes (6-4).
This would mark the 44th time that Michigan (6-4) will face the Hawkeyes. With the two teams holding the same records, both seem to be evenly matched and ready to capture a win to begin the Big Ten grind.
Revenge will be in the air for the Wolverines. Michigan is still bitter about its two losses to Iowa last year. The first loss was at home, where the Wolverines forced Iowa to a fifth game, but lost the match 3-2. The second loss was in Iowa City, where the Hawkeyes posted an easy win over the Wolverines, 3-1.
The Hawkeyes have not fared very well this season, though, dropping their last two matches to Eastern Michigan and No. 7 Northern Iowa.
After a difficult loss to Notre Dame, Michigan hopes to bounce back at this critical juncture. But the Wolverines won’t undergo any drastic strategic changes this weekend to give teh Hawkeyes a new look.
“We’re working on little things to take the necessary steps in getting better as a team,” junior Erin Moore said.
Young, and capable of taking the Big Ten by storm, Michigan is ready to head over to Iowa and proclaim its spot among the elite in the conference.
“They throw the ball around a lot, but they’re a good team,” Moore said.
But with continuously amazing play from Jennifer Gandolph and Katrina Lehman, Michigan should have little problem competing with Iowa.
Gandolph is coming off of a huge week at the Nebraska Classic, which was followed by another strong performance on Sept. 21 against Notre Dame. In that game against the Irish, Lehman had 20 kills and 17 digs. She is also approaching Julia Strum’s school record for career blocks. Lehman is just 10 blocks away from that mark with 365.
Over the pass few seasons, the play of Chantel Reedus, Nicole Poquette and Carrie Ritchie, along with Gandolph and Lehman, has led Michigan to victory against the Hawkeyes and they will look to repeat that earlier success.
Since both opponents are coming off of losses, this should be a very exciting matchup of the two Big Ten competitors. But, it will not be an easy task for the Wolverines, who yet again are forced to leave Ann Arbor.