Hawkeyes Fall to No.21 Illini

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa volleyball team (9-15, 3-10) fell to No. 21 Illinois (12-10, 7-6) in three sets on Wednesday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Junior Griere Hughes led Iowa with 12 kills, sophomore Courtney Buzzerio added 27 assists, and junior Halle Johnston added nine digs.

“Griere (Hughes) is starting to find her groove and is contributing each set offensively and defensively. We out blocked Illinois tonight and that was one aspect we wanted to grow in. They are figuring it out on the block. There is always adversity when you go into preparation for the next match and after the weekend, the team is finding out that they can work through adversity. There are a lot of good things to take away from this game.”

SET 1 (25-18) | Iowa surrendered the lead to begin the match, but the Hawkeyes quickly regained their footing with a kill from sophomore Courtney Buzzerio and block from sophomore Hannah Clayton. Clayton was strong at the net in the first set, collecting three blocks. Clayton’s second block brought Iowa within two with the score 11-9, but the Illini fought off the Hawkeye surge and took a 16-13 lead as Iowa called its first timeout. A 4-2 run forced another Iowa timeout and was enough room for Illinois to close the final five points.

SET 2 (25-23) | The second set was neck-and-neck until the very end. After a brief run by Illinois to open the set, Iowa surged back with a four-point run to tie the score at 12. Neither team could gain an edge with ties at every point from 13-20. Illinois took a 22-20 lead to force an Iowa timeout and Iowa responded with a 2-0 run of their own to force Illinois’ timeout. Junior Griere Hughes brought Iowa within one point with Illinois holding match point, but Iowa couldn’t escape with a set victory and Illinois took set two.

SET 3 (25-15) | Iowa stuck around for the third set with six tie scores within the first 10 points. Freshman Blythe Rients tallied a team-high three kills during the set as the Hawkeyes mixed up their lineups. Junior Halle Johnston and Buzzerio added four digs each. The Hawkeyes were unable to find their offensive footing after the 10th point as Illinois broke open the set taking a 20-13 lead as Iowa called a timeout. Iowa added a kill from freshman Kyndra Hansen but fell in the set 25-15 to end the match.


  • Senior Emily Bushman made her first start of the season.
  • Sophomore Amiya Jones paced Iowa with a .455 hitting percentage.
  • Iowa out blocked Illinois, 6-3.

Iowa closes its four match homestand on Saturday night against No. 7 Nebraska at 7 p.m. (CT). Tickets are available on hawkeyesports.com/tickets or over the phone at 800-IA-HAWKS.

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