Volleyball seeks to regain momentum

Michigan teams pose challenges for Iowa for the weekend.


Iowa’s Brie Orr sets the ball during a match against Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. Iowa defeated Michigan 3 sets to 1. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

Iowa volleyball will travel to Michigan this weekend for two major matches against Michigan and No. 10 Michigan State.

The Hawkeyes will take on the Wolverines for the second time this season in a 5 p.m. (CDT) match today.

Michigan is 14-8 on the season, 4-6 in conference. One of those losses came at the hands of Iowa on Oct. 4 in a four-set match.

In the last meeting, Michigan’s defense helped it win the first set. In the next two, however, Iowa’s offense erupted for team average attack percentage above .400.

The Wolverine defense allows them to put together scrappy plays and extend long rallies. Offensive dominance from the Hawkeyes will be key to take those big points.

“I think we just need to definitely play harder than we did last time and cleaner I guess,” freshman setter Brie Orr said. “We can definitely beat them.”

On Saturday, Iowa will turn its focus to No. 10 Michigan State.

The Spartans are 15-4 overall, 8-2 in the Big Ten. Serving has helped lead them against tough teams; they come in second in the conference and 15th in the nation in aces per set with an average of 1.69.

RELATED: Volleyball’s lack of finishing leads to weekend split

“They have really powerful serves behind them, but I’m very confident in our serve receive to be able to pass some good balls,” Orr said.

Michigan State’s blockers will be something for Iowa to adjust to. Alyssa Garvelink is third in the conference and 14th in the nation with 1.48 blocks per set.

“Michigan State is big, and they’re known for their size, so I think it’ll be important for us to just use our shots and to hit high to use their block as an advantage to us,” sophomore Meghan Buzzerio said.

In the Hawkeyes’ most recent match, they fell to Illinois in a tight five-set match on Oct. 20 before bouncing back to sweep Northwestern on Oct. 21.

Coming back from a heartbreaking match and taking that learning opportunity to heart will push Iowa into the rest of its season.

“I think we’re doing good,” Buzzerio said. “Obviously, Illinois was a hard loss, but us coming back and beating Northwestern in three was really good and important for us as a confidence booster going into this weekend.”

Buzzerio was inserted into the rotation to replace junior outside hitter Taylor Louis in the back row to create a stronger passing presence. As well as defense, Buzzerio also brings an offensive back-row attack option for Orr to go to as an alternative.

Recent lineup changes haven’t shaken the Hawkeyes in-game because of the extensive work in practice. They make sure the rotation works and feels comfortable before it is used in games.

In the middle of the season, these lineup changes could make a difference in where Iowa will land.

“I think this week we’re definitely trying to just focus on the fundamentals, and working hard, and realizing that it is the middle of the season, so this where the teams separate,” Buzzerio said. “So just focusing on what we do on our side and just getting ready for two very good teams.”


Facebook Comments