MINNEAPOLIS – In the University of Iowa volleyball team’s final weekend of the season, the Hawkeyes dropped their series opener to third-ranked Minnesota, 3-0, on Friday night at Maturi Pavilion.
Iowa attacked at a .223 clip on the offensive end and had five Hawkeyes with at least five kills, but Iowa couldn’t slow down the Gophers, who recorded a .448 hitting percentage.
Junior outside hitter Courtney Buzzerio led the Hawkeyes with nine kills and 11 assists for her ninth double-double of the season. Junior middle blocker Hannah Clayton tallied eight kills with a .467 hitting percentage to record her sixth match of the season with an attack percentage above .400.
Clayton led Iowa with four block assists and Iowa’s back row was led by sophomore libero Joslyn Boyer’s 10 digs and junior defensive specialist Maddie Slagle’s seven digs. Boyer has recorded 10 or more digs 14 times this season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1 (Minnesota, 25-22): Trailing 7-0 out of the gate and by as much as 10 (18-8), Iowa slowly chipped away, bringing the score within five on three occasions. With its back against the wall and facing set point (24-18), Iowa rattled off four straight points with two Buzzerio kills, one by Clayton, and an ace from Boyer to force a Minnesota timeout. Minnesota’s Adanna Rollins won the first set for the Gophers with a kill to end Iowa’s comeback bid.
SET 2 (Minnesota, 25-11): Tied 5-5, Minnesota won eight of the nine next points to take a 13-6 lead. Buzzerio and Clayton recorded kills for Iowa following the timeout, but the Hawkeyes couldn’t slow down the Gophers’ offense. Iowa was forced to use its second timeout of the set after trailing 20-9. Jones recorded her fifth kill of the set out of the timeout. Minnesota finished off the second set winning five of the last six points.
SET 3 (Minnesota, 25-19): The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 7-3 lead and held a 9-6 lead before Minnesota started to gain momentum. After a successful Iowa challenge, Minnesota capitalized on a replay reversal of its own to tie the set at nine. Iowa withstood the Gophers’ push to hold an 11-10 advantage, but then the Gophers won six of the next seven points to take a 16-12 lead, forcing Iowa to use a timeout. Thanks to an Iowa 4-0 run, the Hawkeyes deficit was cut to two, 20-18. However, the Gophers scored five of the final six points to win the match.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH VICKI BROWN
“That first set we were working to come back and statistically we finished the same (as Minnesota) in a majority if not all of the categories. It came down to a difference of eliminating two errors and a couple serve receive errors. In the third set, it’s a difference of five points, not just on the scoreboard, but statistically. Eliminating errors, adding a couple of kills, and eliminating a couple of reception errors. My message to the team is when I say we’re close, this is how close we are.”
“Minnesota presented challenges in their serving. We got a little bit rattled at the beginning. We found our rhythm, but then lost it in the second set. Maddie Slagle, Joslyn Boyer, and Edina Schmidt are fighters. They were able to pull it back and get us more into rhythm going into the third set. Just want fine tune that heading into the match tomorrow.”
“The mindset going into tomorrow’s match is finding opportunities and capitalizing on them. We missed a couple plays that should have been ours.”
- Freshman setter Bailey Ortega led Iowa with 19 assists.
- Buzzerio and junior Amiya Jones had four kills in the first set and Clayton had four kills in the third set.
Iowa closes out its 2021 spring season tomorrow against No. 3 Minnesota at 3 p.m. (CT) inside Maturi Pavilion. The match will be televised on ESPNU.