Hawkeyes Take No. 12 Gophers to Five Sets

CORALVILLE, Iowa — University of Iowa volleyball fell to Minnesota, 3-2, Thursday evening inside Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa.

Caitlan Buettner led the way for the Hawkeyes, registering 17 kills and hitting at a clip of .321. Delaney McSweeneyadded 8 kills to the board for the Hawkeyes, and hit at a percentage of .467. Michelle Urquhart tied her career best of 5 in service aces. Nataly Moravec recorded a career best of 12 digs. Setters Bailey Ortega and Kaia Mateo put up 19 assists a piece.


SET 1 (Minnesota, 25-14): Minnesota came out with momentum, but the Hawkeyes were quick to respond with a kill by Urquhart. The Gophers led by one, but Mateo and Anna Davis put up a block and tied it up at three. The two teams battled back and forth, Iowa trailing closely behind. Mateo assisted Buettner for her first kill of the set. Minnesota went on an offensive run, until Iowa capitalized on an error and won the ball back, allowing Urquhart and McSweeney to post a block. Following an Iowa timeout, Hawkeye duo Buettner and Davis stood tall at the net to block a Gopher hit. A kill by Buettner shortened the spread for the Hawkeyes. At match point, Davis went back to serve an ace, and fought to catch the Gophers. The Hawkeyes fell short and Minnesota took the set.

SET 2 (IOWA, 25-20): Minnesota came out with a kill, but Iowa took advantage of a few Gopher errors early in the set to take the lead. The set tied at three before Iowa pulled ahead from a kill by Buettner, assisted by Ortega. Urquhart went back to serve an ace, stretching the spread for the Hawkeyes. Sydney Dennis made a pass to the outside allowing Buettner to secure a kill. The two teams battled back and forth, tying at six, seven, eight, and nine. Urquhart came through swinging from the outside for a kill. Minnesota took a small lead, but the Hawkeyes fought back to tie the set again at 12 and 13. A kill by Buettner and an ace by Urquhart gave Iowa the lead by two. Following an unsuccessful challenge by Minnesota, Urquhart found a hole to serve an ace and forced the Gophers into a timeout. Buettner and Davis teamed up in the front for a block, increasing the spread to six. A McSweeney kill brought the set to match point in favor of the Hawkeyes. Iowa won the final point of the set and came out on top.

SET 3 (Minnesota, 25-16): The Hawkeyes went 3-0 right out of the gate. Minnesota tried to catch up, but the Hawkeyes were able to keep the lead. Moravec and Davis paired up at the net to register a block. The Gophers brought the set to a tie at four, and the two teams remained neck-and-neck early in the set. Iowa followed closely behind, and Ortega and Urquhart paired up for kill to lessen the gap. Buettner then put the ball down, making it back-to-back kills for the Hawkeyes. The Gophers went on an offensive run, but a kill by Moravec put the ball back in Iowa’s hands. The Hawkeyes fought to close the gap, as Moravec put down another kill. The Gophers held the lead and took the third set.

SET 4 (IOWA 26-24): Ortega assisted Moravec and McSweeney for kills, starting the set 2-0. Iowa held the lead towards the beginning of the set. Urquhart added a pair of points to the board, recording an ace and a kill, forcing Minnesota into a timeout. Moravec brought the Iowa lead to six with a kill from the outside. A big dig by Buettner kept the ball alive for the Hawkeyes and allowed Moravec to end the rally with a kill. The Hawkeyes went on an offensive run, holding the Gophers at six for four possessions. The Hawkeyes led 18-14, until the Gophers went on an offensive run and tied the set at 19 and 20. Mateo assisted McSweeney to post a kill from the right side for Iowa to get ahead by one. The set remained tight at the end, tying four more times, leading Minnesota into a timeout. At set point, Mateo set Buettner up for a kill and Iowa was able to finish the set.

SET 5 (Minnesota, 15-6): The Gophers took the first couple of points, but Iowa then took advantage of their error. Minnesota jumped ahead early before Iowa took the ball back after a Buettner kill. A Gopher error sent Buettner back to serve, and Iowa put up a pair of points. Minnesota held the lead until the end of the match, and despite the Hawkeye’s fight, the Gophers closed the set and ultimately the match.


“We played two really good sets, but you have to get three to win the match. I’m proud of the two that we won, because we did create some runs which got us a little bit of a buffer. They fought their way back and we were able to finish off those two sets. That showed a lot of toughness, and I am proud of those parts of the game. I just wish in the fifth set that we could’ve came out and played from the beginning like we had in the fourth set. We gave them too much of a buffer, and it was too much to come back from. But they’re a ranked team, we had our shot with them, and we’ll learn from it. Victory or defeat, we are going to keep improving and keep learning.


The Hawkeyes return to Xtream Arena on Sunday, Sept. 24, facing #21 Ohio State for Camper Day. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m. (CT) on B1G+.