CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – University of Iowa volleyball fell to Illinois, 3-0, on Saturday night inside Huff Hall.
The Hawkeyes were led by redshirt freshman Nataly Moravec as she put down 15 kills and dug 10 to register her first double-double of the season. Fifth-year Caitlan Buettner also tallied double-digit kills with 11. Senior Bailey Ortega and freshman Kaia Mateo split the assists with 18 and 16, respectively. Redshirt sophomore Sydney Dennis led the defense with 21 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Set 1 (Illinois, 28-26): The Hawkeyes kicked off the match on a long run, scoring the first five points. Urquhart posted two service aces, Buettner put down a kill, and Iowa took advantage of two Fighting Illini errors. Illinois battled with its own run, but Iowa was able to keep the lead, 7-4. After a strong offensive front from the Illini, Iowa capitalized off of two errors and two kills from Moravec to tie the set at 11. The back-and-forth battle continued through the end. The Hawkeyes made a late run to take the lead, 24-23, but Illinois pushed ahead to take the set.
Set 2 (Illinois, 25-18): Buettner gave Iowa the advantage with the first point of the set, before the two teams exchanged points, tying at each point through three. Illinois began to pull away, but Moravec, Buettner and McSweeney pushed to keep the Hawkeyes within reach, narrowing the spread to six with the score at 15-9 Illini. Iowa continued to fight, getting within five, but were unable to catch up, and Illinois secured the second set.
Set 3 (Illinois, 28-26): The Hawkeyes once again came out strong, putting two points on the board with an ace from Urquhart and an error from the home team. Illinois retaliated and jumped out ahead, 10-5. Iowa fought back, scoring four consecutively to dwindle the deficit to one, 11-10 Illini. The teams exchanged points before the Hawkeyes were able to score three stragiht and take the lead, 14-13. The teams went evenly matched, tying at 14, 15, 16, and 17, before Iowa jumped out ahead once again, 19-17, to force Illinois into a timeout. The set continued with even scoring before Illinois was able to put up the final three points to win the set and match.
The Hawkeyes return home on Wednesday to host No. 1 Wisconsin inside Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa. The match will air live at 7 p.m. (CT) on Big Ten Network.