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Learning to compete at college level

Iowa Hawkeyes right side hitter and Mitchell native Taylin Alm (19) hits the ball during their Black and Gold scrimmage on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (Brian Ray/

Playing collegiate volleyball is something Taylin Alm dreamed her entire life of doing.

Now, she's living it.

The 6-foot-4 right side hitter has enjoyed her first two months at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, but she's ready to make her mark on the court. Alm, a freshman, said Tuesday that she's changed her swing, which has been a big adjustment for her.

"It's been tough to change because I'm used to what I do, but I need to have an open mind about it," she said, of head coach Bond Shymansky working with her technique. "If it's going to help the team, I need to focus on doing it right, so we can all benefit from it."

Alm was a Mitchell High School standout and has several Kernel records. She is the only Kernel volleyball player to reach the 1,000-kill mark in her career.

The Hawkeyes held their annual Black and Gold scrimmage Saturday, with Alm earning court time on the A team.

"We looked game-ready," Shymansky said in a Iowa release. " You could tell we were bouncy. We love have the home atmosphere of Carver-Hawkeye Arena come to life with so many fans showing up."

Iowa opens its regular season this weekend at the Texas A&M tournament in College Station, Texas. The Hawkeyes play against the Aggies at 10 a.m. and University of Texas-San Antonio at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Iowa concludes the trip against Tulane at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

After the Hawkeyes finished 11-21 last season and 2-18 in the Big Ten, they were picked to finish 11th out of 14th in the this year's preseason conference poll. Alm said the team is focused and has set goals much higher than that this season.

"Our goal is 20 wins," she said. "Our head coach is awesome, and we really want to do better than the team did last year. We're really focusing on winning."

Alm said the time commitment has been a major thing to adjust to. Her day consists of classes in the morning and study hall and practice takes up roughly four hours each day.

"I've learned a lot so far," she said. "Adjusting to workouts and learning out to manage my time has been different."

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.