Offensive Firepower Gives Iowa Win over Rutgers

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Sophomore Reghan Coyle tallied a personal-best .714 attacking percentage as the University of Iowa volleyball team captured a 3-1 victory over Rutgers on Wednesday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. With the win, the Hawkeyes are now 19-10 overall and hold a 9-8 record in Big Ten play.
“We came out pretty sharp and aggressive,” said head coach Bond Shymansky. “You could see our intensity. It was a pretty good opportunity for us to get everyone involved on the roster. But our focus dropped and we dropped the [third] set. Those things are going to happen and you have to be able to respect the necessities of what’s required at a home match. We have to make sure that we give our very, very best at all moments and that’s how win sets and find success.”
Coyle had her second consecutive double-digit kill match as she garnered 10 kills against the Scarlet Knights (4-26, 0-17 Big Ten). Coyle was perfect on the night with no errors in 14 total attacks.  Ashley Mariani (13) and Meghan Buzzerio (10) also chipped in double-figure kills. This was Buzzerio’s third consecutive match and 13th of the season with double-digit kills.
As a team, the Hawkeyes racked up a .315 attacking percentage on the night. In addition to Coyle’s career-high, Lauren Brobst had five kills in six total attacks for a .833 attacking percentage, while Jess Janota (8-12) and Loxley Keala (3-6) each amassed a .500 hitting percentage.
The Hawkeyes took an early 10-3 lead in set one. This hot start was bolstered by kills from Mariani (3), Buzzerio (1) and Keala (1). Janota and Molly Kelly each contributed an ace during the stretch. The Scarlet Knights cut off the long run with a 3-1 stretch before the Hawkeyes used a 12-6 burst to extend their advantage to 23-13. Janota (1), Buzzerio (2), Mariani (2) and Coyle (1) amassed kills during the run, while Buzzerio chipped in two aces and Kasey Reuter added a block. Rutgers tried to cut off the stretch with back-to-back points, but Janota and Reuter each collected a kill to secure a 25-16 set victory.
Iowa continued their offensive firepower in set two as they jumped out to a 19-7 lead. This stretch included an 8-0 run that was sparked by a kill from Reuter and included a kill each from Buzzerio, Janota and Coyle. Rutgers cut off the run with three consecutive points before Iowa used a 5-2 stretch to give the Hawkeyes a chance to serve for match point at 24-12. Reuter’s kill then clinched a 25-13 set win for the Hawkeyes.
After dropping set three (25-23), Iowa came charging back with a dominant 25-14 set victory. As a team, the Hawkeyes tallied a .696 hitting percentage during the final set. After Iowa took a 4-1 lead, the Scarlet Knights scored back-to-back points to cut into the lead. The Hawkeyes used a 5-1 stretch, bolstered by three kills from Marini, to extend the advantage to 9-5. Iowa then went on a 16-8 run to win the set and capture a 3-1 match victory. Mariani and Brobst both racked up five kills during set four, while Coyle chipped in three.
“Saturday night – we’re doing everything we can to break the attendance record,” said Shymansky. “For volleyball, we are here in Carver, 8 p.m. start, No. 1 Nebraska and we can do it. We’ve been close and ahead for a lot of sets this season already and so we just need a few more Hawkeye fans to show up and help us put it over the top.”
Iowa continues its home stand on Saturday night as they take on No. 1 Nebraska at 8 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes strive to break the single match attendance record against the Cornhuskers, so fans are encouraged to arrive early and be loud.