CORALVILLE, Iowa — University of Iowa volleyball fell to Illinois, 3-0, Friday evening inside Xtream Arena.
Redshirt freshman Nataly Moravec led the way for the Hawkeyes, posting nine kills and a .250 hitting percentage. Fifth year Caitlan Buettner followed closely behind with eight kills and a clip of .348. Buettner and sophomore Harlei Cole registered nine digs a piece on the night. Senior setter Bailey Ortega recorded 13 assists for the Hawkeyes.
Set 1 (Illinois, 25-20): The Hawkeyes came out strong with a kill by redshirt senior Delaney McSweeney. The set stayed close from the get-go, tying at points one through four. Illinois went on an offensive run, until freshman Rosa Vesty stood strong at the net to post a solo block. Soon after, Iowa went on an offensive run themselves, tying the set at 10. Moravec registered a pair of kills and Iowa took advantage of a few Illinois errors. The Illini pushed ahead, but Iowa trailed closely behind. Moravec recorded back-to-back kills, keeping the spread within two. Iowa kept fighting to close the gap but fell short, and Illinois took the first set.
Set 2 (Illinois, 25-16): Illinois came out with motivation, but Iowa quickly responded with a kill by Buettner. The next possession, freshman Gabby Deery also recorded a kill. The Fighting Illini went on a short run until Iowa took advantage on their error. Buettner attempted to lessen the spread, as she put down another kill. Illinois held the lead, but Iowa capitalized on another error to get the ball back. Moravec came through swinging from the outside for a kill, and then Deery teamed up with McSweeney for a block. Illinois pushed ahead, but Buettner added another kill to put the ball back into the Hawkeye’s hands. Towards the end of the set, redshirt junior Anna Davis added a kill to the board for the Hawkeyes. The two teams battled, but Illinois ended the set on top.
Set 3 (Illinois, 25-13): Illinois clinched the first couple of points, until Ortega found a hole on the other side of the net for a sneaky dump. McSweeney recorded a kill early in the set, as well as Buettner. The Fighting Illini took the lead, but another Buettner kill brought the set within two. Illinois jumped ahead after going on an offensive run, but McSweeney put one down to get the ball back for Iowa. Later in the set, freshmen duoDeery and Vesty paired up at the net to shut down an Illinois attack attempt. Iowa battled and went on a run of their own, capitalizing on Illinois errors. At the end of the set, the Hawkeyes could not catch the Fighting Illini, and Illinois won the set and the match.
The Hawkeyes return to Xtream Arena on Sunday, Nov. 12 to take on Northwestern for Senior Day. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT on B1G+ (subscription required).