IOWA CITY, Iowa — In front of the ninth-largest crowd in program history (2,144), the University of Iowa volleyball team swept Indiana, 3-0, Saturday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The victory marks Iowa’s fourth straight Big Ten win — its longest conference winning streak since 2014 (four straight).
The Hawkeyes are now 14-4 overall (4-2 B1G) — the program’s best start to a season since 1988.
“Nothing is easy in the Big Ten,” said UI head coach Bond Shymansky. “A 3-0 victory in or out of conference play is good fortitude by our group to focus all the way through. We can’t help but smile right now to be at 4-2 in conference play and 14-4 overall. That’s a really good start for us, but we are still at the beginning of the marathon. I really love what our group is doing right now.”
The Hawkeyes got out to an early 9-3 lead in the first set before the Hoosiers clawed their way back with a 6-1 rally. After a back-and-forth battle, an Iowa error and an Indiana kill gave the Hoosiers a 24-23 lead and forced an Iowa timeout. The Hawkeyes responded, utilizing a kill by senior Ashley Mariani and an ace by sophomore Molly Kelly to win the set, 26-24, and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Iowa’s offense got hot in set two. The Hawkeyes grabbed an early 12-8 lead with a 9-2 rally. Senior setter Loxley Keala (2) and redshirt freshman Meghan Buzzerio (1) each added kills to the run, while Keala and Mariani combined for a block. The Hawkeyes remained in control from there, going on to win the set, 25-19. Redshirt sophomore Kasey Reuter came up big down the stretch, registering four of Iowa’s last five kills with no errors. The Hawkeyes hit .526 in the set with 12 kills in 19 attempts and just two errors.
The Hawkeyes stayed hot in set three, overwhelming the Hoosiers with a .636 attack percentage and 15 kills. Iowa utilized a 5-1 run behind kills from junior Annika Olsen, Buzzerio, and Reuter to grab an 8-6 lead. They never trailed from there, going on to win the set, 25-13. Reuter and Buzzerio led the Iowa offense in the set, recording four kills apiece, while redshirt sophomore Taylin Alm tallied three.
“It was a total group effort,” said Reuter. “Our passing was doing a great job out there, and Loxley (Keala) was pushing me tempo. She knows how I like the ball, and we connected really well. I think that made a huge difference. We just went out there with an aggressive mentality and had all of the pieces fit together.”
Buzzerio and Reuter led the team with eight kills apiece. Reuter was the most efficient, hitting a career-high .889 with eight kills in nine attempts and no errors. Keala dished out a team-leading 28 assists, Buzzerio and Ito each posted six digs, and Janota paced the team with three blocks.
“We have so many great things going on right now,” said Shymansky. “We have over 1,000 season ticket holders, we had a great crowd tonight for the whiteout, and there are a lot of good things going on with the program. People are coming to Carver to see top-level Big Ten volleyball. That’s what’s happening here every night, and we are really doing a good job of defending our home court.”
Iowa returns to action next weekend, traveling to Maryland (Oct. 14) and No. 14 Ohio State (Oct. 15).