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.
HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
- Live stats for each contest are linked on the team’s schedule page or on hawkeyesports.com/vblive.
- 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).
HUGHES TAKES CONTROL
- 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.
RIENTS’ BLOCK PARTY
- 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.
ORR MILESTONE WATCH
- 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.
JOHNSTON GOES FOR 30 AGAINST INDIANA
- 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.
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 76 sets this season with 120 digs.
- Boyer added a career-high 14 digs at Indiana on Oct. 26.
INTERIM NO MORE
- 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.
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 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).
HAWKEYES SWEEP NO.22 WASHINGTON STATE
- 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.
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.
FACING THE BEST
- 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 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
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.
SCOUTING NO. 21 ILLINOIS
- 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.
SCOUTING NO. 7 NEBRASKA
- 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.