CORALVILLE, Iowa – The University of Iowa volleyball team (2-8) fell to Rutgers (2-8), 3-2, in a five-set match inside Xtream Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Iowa dominated out of the gate, winning the first set 25-13 with a .524 hitting percentage. Rutgers responded winning the second set, 25-17, and the third set, 26-24. Iowa bounced back in the fourth set, coming out of top, 25-20. In the fifth and final set, Iowa fell behind early, before dropped the decisive set, 15-12.
In Iowa’s second five-set match of the season, Iowa recorded season highs in kills (67), attacking percentage (.285), digs (61), and assists (66).
Junior outside Courtney Buzzerio led the Hawkeyes with 19 kills, a season-high 27 assists, and nine digs – one shy of her fourth career triple-double. The 19 kills tied a career high and her .381 hitting percentage set a new season high.
Freshman Audrey Black recorded career highs in kills (15) and hitting percentage (.310). Sophomore outside hitter Edina Schimidt (10) and junior middle blocker Hannah Clayton (11) were the third and fourth Hawkeyes with double-digit kills.
Freshman setter Bailey Ortega recorded personal bests in assists (34) and digs (12).
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1 (Iowa, 25-13): Iowa led from start to finish to in the first set. With three kills from junior Amiya Jones in the first 10 points, the Hawkeyes opened the set with a 7-3 lead. Iowa extended its lead to 13-4 after a 3-0 run finished off by a Maddie Slagle ace. Iowa had four aces in the first set. Rutgers used its second timeout of the set after falling behind 21-11 thanks to another 3-0 Iowa run. The Hawkeyes finished off the Scarlet Knights with back-to-back blocks.
SET 2 (Rutgers, 25-17): The Scarlet Knights jumped out to a 4-0 lead and extended the lead to 10-3, forcing the Hawkeyes to call a timeout. Rutgers’ 7-0 run came to an end after Buzzerio’s first of five kills in the set. Trailing 17-7, Iowa showed life with back-to-back kills by Audrey Black, who had four kills in the set. Iowa tried to chip away with back-to-back kills by Buzzerio to trail by six, 20-14. The Hawkeyes were able to cut the deficit to five, 22-17, but Rutgers ended the set on a 3-0 run to even the match.
SET 3 (Rutgers, 26-24): In a set that saw eight lead changes and 14 ties, Iowa separated itself with a 4-0 run to take a 12-9 lead from two kills by Buzzerio, and one each from Schmidt and Clayton. Iowa led 14-10, before Rutgers went on a 4-0 run to take a 17-16 lead. The Hawkeyes evened it up at 19 and took a 22-19 lead, but Rutgers wouldn’t go away. A Buzzerio kill gave Iowa a 23-20 lead, before the set was tied at 24 on another kill by Buzzerio, who had six kills in the set. A Rutgers kill, followed by an Iowa attacking error gave the second set to Rutgers.
SET 4: (Iowa, 25-20): Tied at five, Iowa went on a 4-0 run, highlighted by a Buzzerio ace and a Blythe Rients kill to give Iowa a 9-5 lead, forcing a Rutgers timeout. Rutgers cut into Iowa’s 18-14 lead, bringing the score to 19-17, but Iowa answered back with a 4-1 run courtesy of kills by Buzzerio and Jones to extend it’s lead 23-18. Two Buzzerio kills ended the set to even the match for the Hawkeyes.
SET 5: (Rutgers, 15-12): Rutgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead, forcing an Iowa timeout. The Hawkeyes answered to make it 3-2, but Rutgers extended its lead to 6-3, and Iowa called its second timeout. Out of the timeout, Iowa responded with a Buzzerio kill. Down 8-4, Iowa rallied back to make it 8-6, forcing a Rutgers timeout. Iowa cut its deficit to 12-10 with another Buzzerio kill, forcing Rutgers to use its second timeout. Out of the timeout, an Iowa 2-0 run brought them within one. Trailing 13-12, Rutgers took the last two points, the set, and the match.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH VICKI BROWN
“The fifth set was tough. I thought Courtney (Buzzerio) did a good job of going into that fifth set and swinging away and getting the kills for us. But they key is how do we sustain, or find a medium, as we are going into each set.”
The Hawkeyes will head to Evanston, Illinois to take on Northwestern on Friday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. (CT) inside Welsh-Ryan Arena.