Iowa Downs Western Illinois in Home Opener

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa volleyball team kicked off its home slate with a 3-1 victory over Western Illinois on Friday afternoon. The Hawkeyes improve to 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2013 with the victory.
“We played really clean in the first, second, and fourth set,” said UI head coach Bond Shymansky. “We had a little stumbling block with focus in that third set. It was a good learning lesson for our group. You can’t take anyone for granted no matter what the set scores are. We need to learn how to put people away when we are up 2-0.”
The Hawkeyes used an 11-1 run to get out to an early 16-6 lead in set one. Blocks by seniors Ashley Mariani (2) and Loxley Keala (1), and kills off the hands of redshirt freshman Meghan Buzzezrio (3), senior Lauren Brobst (2) and sophomore Reghan Coyle (1) aided the Iowa rally. The Hawkeyes never lost the momentum from there, using a .433 hitting percentage to win the set, 25-12.
Iowa controlled set two from the start, using a 6-0 run to grab an early 9-4 lead. Sophomore Molly Kelly served the run and added an ace, while Coyle registered a pair of kills. The Hawkeyes never lost the lead from there, going on to win the set, 25-8. The Hawkeyes hit .360 in the set and held the Leathernecks to -.189.
After dropping a close set three, 25-23, the Hawkeyes bounced back in set four. Iowa opened the set with a 6-0 run behind a kill by Brobst, a block assist by Brobst and Mariani, and four Western Illinois errors. The Hawkeyes held on to the lead from there, going on to win the set, 25-12, and the match 3-1.
Buzzerio registered her first career double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs. Coyle led the Iowa attack, registering 10 kills and a .529 attack percentage, while Keala dished out 37 assists. Three Hawkeyes reached double digits in digs. Junior libero Annika Olsen led the way with 12, and Buzzerio and sophomore Libby Koukol each added 11.
“Now we get a chance to regroup and focus in on Arizona State for tonight,” said Shymansky. “I’m looking forward to seeing what our group will do.”
Iowa continues Hawkeye Classic action tonight with a 7 p.m. (CT) match against Arizona State. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free phone card holder, and the first 250 fans will have access to a free taco bar.