By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa wasn’t Meghan Buzzerio’s first choice when she began looking for places to continue her volleyball career. In fact, Iowa wasn’t even on the list.
Buzzerio committed to play volleyball at the University of Arizona before redshirting and subsequently transferring as she searched for a new home.
“I knew I wanted to play at the top level of volleyball and wanted to feel part of a family, so those were the two things I was searching for,” Buzzerio said. “I knew the Big Ten is the best volleyball conference in the country, so I knew I would be playing against the best and had an opportunity to be the best I could be.”
The soft-spoken kid from Chino Hills, California, came to the Midwest on a visit and was amazed by Iowa City and Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I remember how cool Carver was and how it would be an amazing place to play,” Buzzerio said. “The city itself is cute. It’s very homey and you always run into people you know.”
After three years, Buzzerio tallied 424 kills in 84 matches and became Iowa’s go-to outside hitter in her senior season.
“Meghan is very focused,” sophomore Hannah Clayton said. “She can get pretty intense, which is unlike her personality off the court, but she is good at flipping that switch and having a go-get-them mentality. It was calm on the court because you knew she would execute.”
Heading into her redshirt senior season, Buzzerio was poised to lead the Hawkeyes to the postseason for the first time in 25 years.
In Iowa’s ninth match of the season, Buzzerio dropped to the floor after a crosscourt attack against South Dakota. The diagnosis — a torn ACL. Buzzerio’s season was over.
But Buzzerio didn’t allow the injury to keep her away from the game, and soon the soft-spoken kid from California became a vocal leader when the team needed it.
“I felt like I had a coaching role before, but I was showing by example,” Buzzerio said. “After the injury I had to switch my role a little bit. I can now see what the girls are doing and coach them in that way. They have respect for me after what I’ve done, and they take my advice well.”
During matches, Buzzerio can be seen in the huddle coaching and leading the team. She became what the Hawkeyes needed her to be, especially for her younger sister, Courtney.
“I didn’t think I could live in the Midwest being so far from home, but having her (at Iowa) made it an easier decision,” Courtney said. “She has been a good tool for us all to learn from. I have not been that go-to hitter yet, so she has been a good person to talk to.”
The Buzzerio sisters enjoyed playing on the same team for the first time in six years and they developed a closer bond than ever before.
“It has been really fun because we have not had this type of volleyball relationship before,” Courtney said. “I’m going to miss having her here and being my person. She’s my best friend.”
With two matches left inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Buzzerio reflected on her time in college and what she would pass onto the underclassmen.
“Looking back, you don’t remember the exact game, but you remember the relationships you build here and those are the people you will know the rest of your life,” she said. “Enjoy competing at the best level, but enjoy doing it with the people you’re with.”
The Hawkeyes close out the 2019 regular season Friday and Saturday against Ohio State and Maryland inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 7 p.m. (CT). Tickets are available on hawkeyesports.com/tickets.