Match Notes: No.21 Illinois/No. 7 Nebraska

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The University of Iowa volleyball team hosts two ranked foes inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena this weekend. Iowa and No. 21 Illinois face off on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. (CT). Iowa caps the week off against No. 7 Nebraska on Saturday at 7 p.m. (CT). Doors open at 6 p.m.


  • Live stats for each contest are linked on the team’s schedule page or on
  • Listen to this weekend’s matches on Hawkeye All-Access with John Evans on the call.
  • A live stream of this weekend’s matches are available on BTN+ or FloVolleyball (subscriptions required). 


  • Junior Griere Hughes has taken charge of Iowa’s offense during the absence of junior setter Brie Orr.
  • Hughes has reached double-digit kills in four straight matches – her second longest streak of the season after accomplishing the feat in six straight matches from Sept. 13-27.
  • The Fishers, Indiana, native leads Iowa with 260 kills and is second on the team with 3.33 kills per set, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten.
  • Hughes, who transferred from Arizona State in 2018, has set a career high in kills with 24 this season.


  • Sophomore middle blocker Amiya Jones enjoyed a career day against the Hoosiers on Oct. 26.
  • Jones recorded a career-high seven aces, including three consecutive, and a career-high 15 kills in Iowa’s five-set victory.
  • The Indianapolis, native is tied for first in the Big Ten for the most aces in a single match this season. Her effort is seventh in the NCAA.


  • The Hawkeyes defeated Indiana, 3-2, on Oct. 26 to complete a season sweep of the Hoosiers for Iowa’s second season sweep in three seasons.
  • Iowa came back in the fifth set after trailing 12-14 thanks to a kill from freshman Kyndra Hansen and ace by junior Halle Johnston to tie the score at 14. Sophomore Amiya Jones gave Iowa the lead on a cross-court kill and a Hoosier net violation awarded the Hawkeyes the victory.
  • Freshman Joslyn Boyer notched a career-high 14 digs.
  • Sophomore Amiya Jones tallied a career-hig seven aces and 15 kills.
  • Sophomore Courtney Buzzerio registered a career-high 51 assists.
  • Sophomore Hannah Clayton added a season-high seven blocks.
  • The win was Iowa’s first five-set win of the year.


  • Freshman Blythe Rients’ 11 total blocks (10 BA, 1 BS) against Indiana on Oct. 20 ties her for sixth in Iowa single-match history. 
  • The Eagan, Minnesota, native’s 11 blocks are tied for the most in the Big Ten this season and most among Big Ten players in a four set match.
  • Nationally, Rients joins nine other players who have reached 11 total blocks in a match.
  • Rients’ 11 blocks are the most by a Hawkeyes since Sept. 2, 2011.


  • Junior Brie Orr moved into fifth on Iowa’s all-time career assists list following Iowa’s victory over Indiana on Oct. 20.
  • Orr surpassed Barb Zvonek (1995-98) and Nikki Dailey (2010-13) for sixth and fifth all-time with a 40-assist night.
  • Orr now trails Kathy Griesheim by 921 assists for fourth all-time.
  • Orr is third the Big Ten with 767 assists in 2019 and is eighth with 10.09 assists per set.
  • 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 is averaging 10.31 assists per set in her career.


  • Junior Halle Johnston led an Iowa backline that finished with a season-high 82 digs against Indiana on Oct. 20.
  • Johnston tied a career high with 30 digs.
  • The Lakeville, Minn., native’s performance is tied for ninth in Iowa single-match history and is the most digs by a Hawkeye in a match since Molly Kelly recorded 34 against Maryland on Nov. 23, 2018.


  • Freshman Joslyn Boyer is leading Iowa freshmen in playing time this season.
  • Boyer, a Downers Grove, Ill. native, has played in 76 sets this season with 120 digs. 
  • Boyer added a career-high 14 digs at Indiana on Oct. 26.


  • Vicki Brown was named Iowa’s permanent head coach on Sept. 26, removing the interim tag she has had since May 20.
  • Brown agreed to a five-year contract to remain in Iowa City through the 2024 season.
  • Brown joined Iowa’s staff as associate head coach in 2017, taking charge of Iowa’s defensive and recruiting efforts. 
  • Brown helped Iowa bring in the nation’s 24th-ranked recruiting class for the 2019 season.
  • Brown is the youngest coach in the Big Ten at 33 years old.
  • The Toledo, Ohio, native graduated from Illinois in 2008 with a degree in communications.


  • Halle Johnston took over as Iowa’s libero entering her junior season.
  • Johnston continues the trend of effective Iowa liberos with 4.79 digs/set to currently rank second in the Big Ten.
  • Johnston is second in the conference with 407 total digs.
  • Johnston can become the third straight Iowa libero to lead the conference in total digs and digs per set (Olsen, 2017; Kelly, 2018).

Iowa is in the top half of the Big Ten in hitting percentage.
The Hawkeyes rank sixth in the Big Ten with a .237 team attack percentage (1134-425-2996).


  • Iowa defeated No. 22 Washington State on Aug. 31 for the team’s first win over a ranked opponent this season and second win overall.
  • The victory was 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.

Heading into the 2019 season, Iowa has three team captains: seniors Emily Bushman and Meghan Buzzerio, and junior Brie Orr.


  • Iowa faces eight teams currently ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Week 11 coaches  poll – Wisconsin (4), Minnesota (6), Nebraska (7), Penn State (8), Washington (14), Purdue (15), Illinois (21), and Washington State (24).
  • 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. 
  • Five of Iowa’s final eight matches this season are against teams ranked inside the top-25.


  • 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. 

For an inside look at the Iowa Volleyball program and access to exclusive coverage, “like” University of Iowa Volleyball on Facebook and follow @iowaVolleyball on Twitter and Instagram. 


  • Illinois is 11-10 on the year and 6-6 in the Big Ten.
  • The Fighting Illini have won two of their last three matches.
  • 2018 All American Jacqueline Quade leads Illinois with 360 kills and is second in the Big Ten with 4.24 kills per set.
  • This is Illinois’ second time competing inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Fighting Illini came to Iowa City for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in September.
  • Iowa trails the all-time series 59-14
  • Illinois is coached by Chris Tamas, who is in his third season.


  • Nebraska is 18-3 overall and 10-2 in conference.
  • The Huskers face Northwestern in a midweek matchup before traveling to Iowa City for Saturday’s match.
  • Nebraska has three players – Lexi Sun, Jazz Sweet, and Lauren Stivrins – who have more than 200 kills on the season.
  • Defensively, Nebraska has limited opponents to a Big-Ten leading .142 hitting percentage.
  • Iowa trails the all-time series 30-0.
  • Nebraska is coached by John Cook, who is in his 19th season.
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