The University of Iowa volleyball team travels to Evanston, Illinois, to face Northwestern on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26-27, inside Welsh-Ryan Arena. Friday’s match is slated for 6 p.m. (CT) and Saturday’s match is set for 5 p.m.
HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
- Live stats for each contest are linked on the team’s schedule page.
- Both matches will be streamed on B1G Network+ (subscription required).
- Fans can listen to both matches on WUNR Sports, the broadcast home of Northwestern athletics.
- For live, in-game score updates, follow @IowaVolleyball on Twitter.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Iowa has won four of its last five matches against Northwestern.
- Junior outside hitter Courtney Buzzerio was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 22 following her performances against Rutgers, Feb. 19-20, becoming the first Hawkeye to do so since Reghan Coyle on Oct. 31, 2016.
- Junior middle blocker Amiya Jones currently holds the top attacking percentage (.299) in school history. Mikaela Gunderson (.294; 2013-15) and Jess Janota (.281; 2014-17) rank second and third.
- Sophomore libero Joslyn Boyer ranks fourth in the Big Ten in total digs (148) and seventh in digs per set (3.89).
- Iowa has attacked .250 or better in three straight matches, registering 59 or more kills in two of the three.
LAST TIME OUT
- In Iowa’s second career weekend at Xtream Arena, the Hawkeyes split with Rutgers, winning the first match in four sets and dropping the weekend finale in five sets to fall to 2-8 on the season. Both of Iowa’s wins this season have come at home.
- Sophomore outside hitter Edina Schmidt posted career highs in kills (21) and hitting percentage (.395) on Friday, Feb. 19, becoming the first Hawkeye to register 20+ kills this season. Iowa won the first two sets (25-19, 25-17), dropped a close third set (23-25), and finished off the Scarlet Knights in set four (25-17). Buzzerio was two kills shy of her fourth career triple-double, with eight kills, 26 assists, and 11 digs.
- The following match on Saturday, Feb. 20, Iowa came out swinging in the first set, winning 25-13, with a .524 hitting percentage — the best of any set this season. Rutgers responded, taking the next two sets, before Iowa bounced back with a 25-20 win in set four. Falling behind 3-0 in the fifth set, Iowa played catch up, before dropping 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). Buzzerio again narrowly missed a triple-double, with 19 kills, a season-high 27 assists, and nine digs. Freshmen Audrey Black (15 kills and .310 hitting percentage) and Bailey Ortega (34 assists and 12 digs) set new career highs in the loss.
- Northwestern is 2-2 this season. The Wildcats swept Rutgers at home to start the season, before missing three series due to a pause for healthy and safety reasons. Coming off pause last weekend, Northwestern was swept at No. 11 Purdue.
- Last season, Northwestern was 14-18 overall and 5-15 in the Big Ten.
- The Wildcats are averaging 11.9 kills, 10.8 assists,13.8 digs , and 2.2 blocks per set.
- Offensively, Northwestern is led by Temi Thomas-Ailara and Abryanna Cannon. Thomas-Ailara, a sophomore outside hitter from Glenwood, Illinois, leads the team with 57 kills and averages 4.38 kills per set, which ranks second in the Big Ten. Cannon, a redshirt sophomore from Novi, Michigan, trails Thomas-Ailara with 34 kills and averages 2.62 kills per set.
- Defensively, Northwestern is led by junior libero Megan Miller and senior middle blocker Alana Walker. Miller leads the Wildcats with 42 digs averaging 3.23 digs per set. Walker leads the team with 16 blocks, averaging 1.33 blocks per set, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten.
- Northwestern is coached by Shane Davis, who is in his fourth season at the helm. Davis led the Loyola University men’s volleyball program to back-to-back national championships in 2014 and 2015, where he coached 12 All-Americans before taking over the head coaching position at Northwestern in 2015.
BUZZERIO DOING IT ALL
- The reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, Buzzerio leads Iowa with 92 kills and 12 aces, ranks second on the team in assists (170) and digs (75), and third in total blocks (28). Buzzerio’s 12 aces rank sixth-best in the Big Ten.
- Buzzerio is averaging 9.2 kills, 17 assists, and 7.5 digs per match this season.
- In Buzzerio’s last match against Rutgers on Feb. 20, her 19 kills on a season-high 42 attacks tied a career high and her 27 assists set a new season high.
- Buzzerio has registered 26 or more assists in three straight games and at least 20 assists in five of her last six.
- Buzzerio is the first Hawkeye to claim Big Ten Player of the Week honors since Reghan Coyle on Oct. 31, 2016.
- Buzzerio registered her third career triple-double (13 kills, 21 assists, 11 digs) in Iowa’s five-set match against Indiana on Feb. 6. In back-to-back matches against Rutgers, Buzzerio narrowly missed her fourth career triple-double. She needed two kills on Feb. 19 and one dig on Feb. 20.
- Buzzerio is the only individual in the Big Ten and one of nine nationally to record a triple-double this season.
- The Chino Hills, California, native is the only Hawkeye in program history to register multiple triple-doubles in a career. Buzzerio’s first career triple-double was against Nebraska (Nov. 16, 2019) last season, with her second coming two weeks later against Ohio State (Nov. 29, 2019).
- There have only been five triple-doubles in the last 20 years at Iowa. Kiley Fister (2005) and Fabiana De Abreu (2000) are the other two Hawkeyes to complete the feat.
- Sophomore libero Joslyn Boyer has anchored Iowa’s back row.
- The Downers Grove, Illinois, native leads Iowa with 148 digs, while registering at least 18 digs in five straight games.
- Boyer’s 148 digs ranks fourth-best in the Big Ten and her 3.89 digs per set ranks seventh-best in the conference.
- Junior defensive specialist Maddie Slagle has started the last three games for Iowa, averaging eight digs per match. Slagle’s 11 digs against Rutgers on Feb. 19 was a season high.
STRONG IN THE MIDDLE
- Iowa’s trio of middle blockers — Hannah Clayton, Blythe Rients, and Amiya Jones — have shined on offense and defense.
Clayton leads Iowa with a .344 attacking percentage, followed by Jones (.323) and Rients (.231). Clayton’s .344 hitting percentage is 11th-best in the Big Ten. Clayton has posted a hitting percentage of .300 or better in seven of 10 games this season. Jones hit above .400 in Iowa’s matches against Rutgers on Feb. 19-20.
- Defensively, Clayton and Rients lead Iowa with 36 total blocks to rank 18th in the conference with 0.95 blocks per set. Iowa ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 81 total blocks.
- Three freshmen — Bailey Ortega, Audrey Black and Leanne Lowry — have contributed for the Hawkeyes to start the season.
Ortega, a Davenport North high school grad, leads Iowa with 203 assists. Ortega set a personal-best with 34 assists and 12 digs against Rutgers on Feb. 20. Ortega has started in eight of 10 games this season
- In Black’s first career start on Jan. 30 against No. 13 Purdue, she recorded a then personal-best and team-high 10 kills. Black set career highs in kills (15) and hitting percentage (.310) against Rutgers on Feb. 20. The Aurora, Colorado, native has started in four matches this season and her 82 kills are third most on Iowa.
- In Lowry’s first career start on Jan. 30 at No. 13 Purdue, she tallied a personal-best and team-high 13 digs. Lowry, a Castle Rock, Colorado, native has started four matches this season.
TUBBS FINISHES IT OFF
- Sophomore middle blocker Grace Tubbs made her season debut late in the fourth set of Iowa’s victory over Indiana on Feb. 5. The Clinton, Iowa, native recorded her first kill of the season to give Iowa a 24-17 lead in the clinching set and served on match point.
- Tubbs, who appeared in only four games last season, has seen action in the fourth set of both of Iowa’s victories this season.
BEST CONFERENCE IN THE NATION
- Six Big Ten teams are ranked in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll: No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 10 Penn State, No. 11 Purdue, and No. 18 Ohio State.
- Seven Big Ten Schools qualified for the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin was the NCAA runner-up, falling to Stanford, 3-0. Minnesota lost to Stanford, 3-0, in the NCAA Semifinals.
- The Big Ten Conference has crowned an NCAA Champion in nine of the last 15 years and two Big Ten teams have advanced to the Final Four five straight seasons.
NEW HOME FOR IOWA VOLLEYBALL
- Xtream Arena powered by Mediacom — the new home for the University of Iowa Volleyball team — hosted the first ever Iowa volleyball matches on Feb. 5-6 against Indiana.
- The 5,100-seat arena is located in the Iowa River Landing in Coralville, Iowa.
- The arena connects to the 53,000 sq. ft, five-court GreenState Family Fieldhouse.
- Xtream Arena will also be the home arena for a newly announced ECHL hockey team in 2021-22.
SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
- Iowa’s 2021 volleyball schedule features a conference-only, 22-game slate. Iowa will face 11 of the Big Ten’s 14 teams. Four of Iowa’s opponents are ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
- Home and away games will alternate weekends. Games will be played on Friday and Saturday, with one game (vs. Nebraska, March 17) on Wednesday.
- Iowa’s March 17 match against Nebraska at 6 p.m. (CT) will be televised on Big Ten Network and the regular season finale at Minnesota will be televised on ESPNU at 3 p.m.
- The NCAA Tournament will be begin April 8.
- All dates and times are subject to change.
- The Hawkeyes return 10 of 15 letterwinners from last season and welcome six freshman this season.
- Twelve of Iowa’s 16 student-athletes are underclassmen.
- Brie Orr, Halle Johnston, and Griere Hughes opted out of the 2021 season.
COACHING STAFF ADDITIONS
- Iowa welcomed two new assistants to its staff after the 2019 season.
- Dave Brown joined the Hawkeyes as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator on Jan. 21, 2020. Prior to Iowa, Brown was the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Loyola-Chicago where he helped the Ramblers set a single-season record for conference wins (14) and most total wins (21) since 2004 in 2019. In his first season at Loyola, Brown was one of 11 NCAA Division I women’s coaches Thirty Under 30 Award recipients from the AVCA for up-and-coming young coaches.
- Former Hawkeye Alyssa Klostermann joined the Iowa staff as a volunteer assistant coach in December. As a three-time captain for the Hawkeyes from 2013-16, Klostermann appeared in 103 matches and finished her career No. 11 on Iowa’s all-time assists list (1,006). Klostermann recently coached club and high school volleyball in Minnesota, winning the 5AAA Minnesota state championship at Wayzata High School in 2019.
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
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