The University of Iowa volleyball team competes in its final two matches of the regular season this weekend in Minneapolis against No. 3 Minnesota at Maturi Pavilion. Friday’s series opener is set for 5 p.m. (CT) and Iowa will wrap up the regular season on Saturday at 3 p.m.
HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
- Live stats for each contest are linked on the team’s schedule page.
- Friday’s match will be streamed live on B1G Network+ (subscription required). Saturday’s match will be televised on ESPNU.
Live audio for Saturday’s match will be available on Golden Gophers All-Access.
- For live, in-game score updates, follow @IowaVolleyball on Twitter.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Iowa is 4-14 and tied for 11th in the Big Ten conference that features six teams ranked inside the top 11 of the latest AVCA Coaches Poll rankings, including top-ranked Wisconsin.
- Iowa is tied for the Big Ten lead with six other schools with 18 matches played. Iowa had missed only one weekend (vs. Wisconsin, March 5-6) due to COVID-19 protocols.
- The Hawkeyes picked up three of their four wins at home this season, going 2-3 at Xtream Arena and 1-3 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
- Led by sophomore Edina Schmidt’s 172 kills, five different Hawkeyes have amassed at least 100 kills, making Iowa one of only four Big Ten schools to do so.
LAST TIME OUT
- Last weekend against Michigan State, Iowa won its home finale at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in a 3-0 sweep over the Spartans on March 27. The win was Iowa’s first 3-0 sweep of the season and first victory on a Saturday. Iowa won the first two sets, 25-22, and finished off Michigan State with a 25-19 victory in set three. In the win, sophomore libero Joslyn Boyer anchored Iowa’s back row with a career-high 25 digs. Offensively, sophomore outside hitter Edina Schmidt led the Hawkeyes with 12 kills.
- Iowa won the first set, 25-18, in the series opener on March 26, before falling in the next three sets. Six Hawkeyes recorded at least five kills, but Iowa didn’t have an answer for Michigan State’s Alyssa Chronowski, who recorded a season-high 13 kills.
SCOUTING NO. 3 MINNESOTA
- Minnesota is 13-2 this season with its only losses coming at the hands of Nebraska and Minnesota. Six of the Gophers’ 13 wins have came in three sets this season.
- The Gophers are coached by Hugh McCutcheon, who enters his ninth season as the head coach. He owns a 229-55 career record, was named the 2015 AVCA National Coach of the Year, and has led Minnesota to three NCAA Final Fours and two Big Ten Championships.
- Minnesota averages 2.8 blocks per set to rank third in the Big Ten and ninth nationally. Led by redshirt senior middle blocker Regan Pittman, the Gophers have three individuals averaging over one block per set.
- Offensively, Minnesota averages 12.9 kills per set with a .248 attacking percentage. Senior opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy leads the Big Ten with 4.1 kills per set. Two other Gophers have over 136 kills this season.
BUZZERIO DOING IT ALL
- Junior outside hitter Courtney Buzzerio ranks second on the team in kills (170), assists (300), and digs (120), and third in total blocks (44).
- Buzzerio is averaging 9.4 kills, 16.7 assists, and 6.7 digs per match this season.
- She has posted eight double-doubles this season, including a string of four straight in late February.
- Buzzerio claimed Big Ten Player of the Week Honors on Feb. 22 following her performance at Northwestern, becoming the first Hawkeye to do so 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. She is the only individual in the Big Ten and one of 21 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, leading the Hawkeyes and ranking fifth in the Big Ten with 255 total digs. Boyer’s 3.8 digs per set ranks eighth in the conference. She needed only 11 matches this season to surpass her digs total (159) from last season.
- Boyer is coming off a career-high 25 digs in Iowa’s 3-0 sweep of Michigan State on March 27, becoming the first Hawkeyes with at least 25 digs since Halle Johnson had 30 against Indiana on Oct. 20, 2019.
- Boyer, a Downers Grove, Illinois, native has recorded 13 matches with double-digit digs, including three with 20 or more.
- Junior defensive specialist Maddie Slagle, who tied a career-high 16 digs in Iowa’s Feb. 27 match at Northwestern, has started four of the last six matches and ranks third on the team with 113 total digs. Slagle has tallied seven or more digs eight times this season.
STRONG IN THE MIDDLE
- Led by junior middle blocker Hannah Clayton, Iowa’s middle blockers have shined offensively and defensively.
- Clayton leads Iowa with a .341 attacking percentage, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten and 91st nationally. Clayton has registered 12 matches with a hitting percentage of .300 or better. Clayton also leads Iowa in total blocks (61) and blocks per set (0.9), ranking 12th and 18th, respectively, in the Big Ten in each category.
- Clayton’s 233 career total blocks ranks 20th all-time in school history and is two blocks shy of moving into 19th place on the all-time blocks list.
- Junior Amiya Jones has started the last six matches for Iowa and ranks second on the team in hitting percentage (.253). Jones’ career .291 attacking percentage currently ranks third all-time in school history.
- Sophomore Blythe Rients, who ranks second on Iowa with 47 total blocks and averages 0.7 blocks per set. Offensively, Rients has recorded eight kills in two straight games and is one of five Hawkeyes with at least 100 kills.
SPREAD OUT ATTACK
- Five Hawkeyes — sophomore Edina Schmidt (172), junior Courtney Buzzerio (170), junior Hannah Clayton (134), freshman Audrey Black (132), and sophomore Blythe Rients (100) — have recorded at least 100 kills.
- Iowa is one of only four schools (Ohio State, Penn State, and Rutgers) in the Big Ten to have five individuals with 100 or more kills.
- Schmidt’s 545 total attacks leads the team, followed by Buzzerio’s 458 and Black’s 432.
- Three freshmen — Bailey Ortega, Audrey Black and Leanne Lowry — have contributed for the Hawkeyes.
- Ortega, a Davenport North high school grad, leads Iowa with 356 assists. Ortega set a personal-best with 34 assists and 12 digs against Rutgers on Feb. 20. Ortega has started 14 of 16 matches this season. In all but one match this season, Ortega has recorded 10+ assists and she has recorded 20+ assists eight times.
- 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 is fourth on the team in kills (132) and third in total attacks (432).
- 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.
BEST CONFERENCE IN THE NATION
- Six Big Ten teams are ranked in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll: No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 3 Minnesota, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 8 Purdue, No. 10 Ohio State, and No. 11 Penn 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.
- Iowa finished the inaugural season at Xtream with a 2-3 record.
- 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.
- 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.