The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa volleyball travels to Maryland, Rutgers

The Iowa volleyball team is heading to the East Coast, ready to meet Maryland and Rutgers this weekend. This will be Iowa’s first conference matchup against either school.

The road trip will begin in Maryland, with first serve scheduled for 6 p.m. central time today. Both teams enter this matchup with overall records of 9-12, but Maryland (2-8) has a one game advantage over the Hawkeyes (1-9) in the conference standings.

This weekend finally gives Iowa a break from ranked opponents, coming off a stretch against four top-25 teams. With that said, the Hawkeyes know they can’t arrive thinking they can get away with coasting not far from the coast.

“We need to have confidence, but we can’t go in there expecting to win, expecting that we’re not going to have to work for it,” senior Alessandra Dietz said. “They’re new, but this is the Big Ten, and they’ve played a couple teams close. We just have to play our Iowa volleyball game plan, and that’s how it has to be no matter whom we’re playing.”

Senior Ashleigh Crutcher leads the Terrapin attack, averaging 3.54 kills per set. Her hitting percentage is merely .203, however, and that is indicative of a larger advantage for the Hawkeyes.

Coming off a rough loss to Minnesota last weekend that saw the Hawkeyes nearly log as many errors as kills, colliding with a Maryland squad that hits only .153 as a team will relieve some pressure and allow Bond Shymansky’s group to focus on executing his system and getting another conference victory.

“These are teams that are situated around us in the conference standings right now, so we need to assert ourselves over them,” Shymansky said. “We really need to be hungry. This a great road trip opportunity to get our first road win in the conference.”

After meeting the team directly above it in the standings, Iowa will turn around and face the only team below it in 7-16 (0-10) Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights are led by freshman Meme Fletcher, posting 2.59 kills per set. Again, however, the team leader’s lowly hitting percentage of .095 is representative of a largely error-prone attack.

Iowa is fourth-last in the conference with a .201 hitting percentage, Maryland’s .153 is good for 13th of 14, and Rutgers comes in last at .142.

The playing field will be a bit more even this weekend, but Iowa also needs to get away from sloppy play in recent matches. Given their recent struggles, the Hawkeyes’ focus will be on not playing to the competition and not taking any points off.

“Just because these two teams are not comparable to Wisconsin or Minnesota from last week, we can’t go in there expecting to walk out with a win,” junior Julianne Blomberg said. “Because they’re going to give us just as hard of a fight as anybody in this Big Ten.”

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