The University of Iowa volleyball team opens Big Ten play this weekend with a trip to Illinois to face Northwestern and #20 Illinois. The Hawkeyes square off against the Wildcats on Friday at 7 p.m. (CT) in Evanston then travel to Champaign for a matchup against the Illini on Saturday at 7 p.m.
HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
- Live stats for each contest can be found on the team’s schedule page or on hawkeyesports.com/vblive.
- A live stream of both matches are available on BTN Plus (subscription required).
BUZZERIO TAKES CHARGE IN IOWA CORN CY-HAWK SERIES TOURNEY
- Sophomore right side hitter Courtney Buzzerio is becoming Iowa’s most dangerous hitter this season.
- Buzzerio set a career-high with 19 kills against Iowa State on Sept. 21.
- Buzzerio also led Iowa with 42 total kills over the weekend.
- The Chino Hills, California, native also added a career-high 11 digs against Coastal Carolina and Iowa State.
- Buzzerio added two aces against Lipscomb to extend her team-leading assist mark to 15 on the season to rank 10th in the Big Ten.
- Iowa is 15-27-2 all-time in Big Ten openers going back to Iowa’s first season in 1977.
- The Hawkeyes are on a two-match winning streak in Big Ten openers, defeating Rutgers in 2017 and Michigan State in 2018.
- Iowa’s two ties came in 1978 and 1979 against Wisconsin and Northwestern, respectively.
- Head coach Vicki Brown can become the second coach in program history to win her first Big Ten opener (Dingman, 2008) with a win over Northwestern on Sept. 27.
- Iowa is among the BigTen’s best in hitting percentage.
- The Hawkeyes rank 6th in the Big Ten with a .275 team attack percentage (574-182-1427).
BLOCKING OUT THE HATERS
- Sophomore Amiya Jones leads the Hawkeyes in the middle with 34 total blocks.
- Jones has one solo block and 33 block assists through 11 matches, including a season-high six blocks against James Madison.
NEW LIBERO, NO PROBLEM
- Halle Johnston took over as Iowa’s libero entering her junior season.
- Johnston continues the trend of effective Iowa liberos with 5.13 digs/set to currently rank second in the Big Ten.
- Johnston is second in the conference with 205 total digs.
- The Lakeville, Minn., native set a career-high 30 digs against Wyoming on Sept. 13. It is Iowa’s first 30+ dig performance since Nov. 23, 2018.
- Freshman Edina Schmidt saw the most playing time in her career during the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series Tournament.
- Schmidt played in all five sets against Iowa State on Sept. 21, tallying a career-high nine kills including a solo block.
- The Berlin, Germany, native also added three service aces against Coastal Carolina on Sept. 20.
BOYER LEADING FRESHMEN PLAYING TIME
- Freshman Joslyn Boyer is leading Iowa freshmen in playing time this season.
- Boyer, a Downers Grove, Ill. native, has played in 31 sets this season with 21 digs.
- Boyer added a career-high eight digs against Lipscomb on Sept. 20.
HAWKEYES SWEEP NO. 22 WASHINGTON STATE
- Iowa defeated No. 22 Washington State on Aug. 31 for the team’s first win over a ranked team this season and second win overall.
- The victory is Iowa’s first win over a ranked opponent on the road since Oct. 12, 2012, when Iowa downed the Boilermakers in West Lafayette.
- Iowa held the edge in kills (46-28), blocks (6-5), assists (37-26), and digs (49-43).
- Senior Meghan Buzzerio and junior Griere Hughes led Iowa with 12 kills each.
- Junior Brie Orr added a match-high 32 assists.
- Junior Halle Johnston tallied 21 digs.
WE’RE THE CAPTAINS NOW
Heading into the 2019 season, Iowa has three team captains: seniors Emily Bushman and Meghan Buzzerio, and junior Brie Orr.
24TH-RANKED RECRUITING CLASS
- The Hawkeyes’ 2019 recruiting class was ranked 24th in the nation by FloVolleyball last spring.
- Iowa is bringing in eight new faces, including Joslyn Boyer, Emma Lowes, Kyndra Hansen, Blythe Rients, Emma Grunkemeyer, Grace Tubbs, Edina Schmidt, and Jaedynn Evans.
- Of Iowa’s eight newcomers, two are from Iowa (Evans, Tubbs), while Hansen and Rients are from Minnesota, Boyer is from Illinois, Grunkemeyer is from Nebraska, Lowes is from Texas, and Schmidt is from Germany.
NEW HEAD HAWKEYE
- Vicki Brown was named interim head coach on May 20, 2019, after serving as associate head coach for two seasons, when she was in charge of Iowa’s defense and recruiting efforts.
- Under Brown’s guidance, Iowa brought in the 24th-ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2019.
FACING THE BEST
- Iowa faces seven teams currently ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Week four poll – Nebraska (3), Penn State (5), Minnesota (7), Washington (8), Wisconsin (13), Purdue (15), and Illinois (20)
- In each of the last three years, the Big Ten has been represented by two teams in the NCAA Final Four.
- 14 of Iowa’s 31 matches are against ranked teams, 12 against teams inside the Big Ten.
- Seven of Iowa’s final 10 matches this season are against teams ranked inside the top-25.
ORR CAREER ASSIST TRACKER
- Junior Brie Orr enters her junior year as team captain.
- Orr has amassed 2,877 assists in her career to rank seventh in program history. She trails Barb Zvonek for sixth all-time.
- Orr’s 1,242 assists in 2018 are the second most in program history since the 25-point scoring format was implemented in 2008.
- Orr has played in every match in her career, averaging 10.35 assists per set.
HOW’S THE WEATHER UP THERE?
- With the addition of eight freshman, the Hawkeyes got taller in the offseason.
- Of Iowa’s eight newcomers, four are 6-2 or taller, including Grace Tubbs (6-4), Emma Grunkemeyer (6-3), Blythe Rients (6-2), and Kyndra Hansen (6-2).
THE PREMIER CONFERENCE
- The Big Ten Conference has had an NCAA champion in nine of the last 15 years.
- Seven teams – Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Purdue, – appeared in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
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- Northwestern is 9-3 overall and is sixth in the Big Ten heading into conference play.
- The Wildcats won two of three at the Chicago Cup, defeating UIC and DePaul.
- Defensively, Northwestern is stout, averaging 2.83 blocks per set and 183 overall.
- Northwestern and Iowa split last season’s series with the away team winning both matchups.
- Iowa trails the all-time series 31-43-1.
- The Wildcats are coached by Shane Davis, who is in his fourth season.
- 20th-ranked Illinois is 5-4 overall and on a three-match winning streak.
- Jacqueline Quade paces the Big Ten with 4.64 kills/set and her 181 total kills is second in the conference.
- Iowa is 14-58 all-time against the Illini, having defeating Illinois on the road last in 2005.
- Illinois is coached by Chris Tamas, who is in his third season.