Volleyball remains confident in where it stands

Going into the last eight matches of the season, the Hawkeyes are excited about performing on the court and where they\'ll be by the end of the season.

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Volleyball remains confident in where it stands

Iowa Hawkeye Volleyball player Jess Janota during a match against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, Oct. 19, 2017. The Illini defeated the Hawkeyes three sets to two. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa Hawkeye Volleyball player Jess Janota during a match against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, Oct. 19, 2017. The Illini defeated the Hawkeyes three sets to two. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Iowa Hawkeye Volleyball player Jess Janota during a match against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, Oct. 19, 2017. The Illini defeated the Hawkeyes three sets to two. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Iowa Hawkeye Volleyball player Jess Janota during a match against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, Oct. 19, 2017. The Illini defeated the Hawkeyes three sets to two. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

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The Iowa volleyball players are confident about their performance at this point in the season and where they can go from here.

The Hawkeyes are 15-10 this season, 4-8 Big Ten, with eight matches still left. The upcoming four matches will give Iowa home-court advantage, while the last four will be played on the opponents’ floors.

Despite having fewer wins compared with this point in the 2016 season (17), the Hawkeyes aren’t fazed because of the difference in scheduling.

“Last year, we had a lot softer Big Ten season, so even though we had more wins at this point of the season last year, we had played a lot of the easier teams,” senior libero Annika Olsen said. “I think now knowing that we’ve played a lot of the top-10 ranked teams in the country — we got them out of the way already — we still have a lot of games left and a lot of potential.”

Moving into this point in the season where the players will start to face more unranked teams than before generates confidence that they can secure more wins.

That confidence also comes from knowing that the team keeps improving each day.

“I think we’re in a good spot right now looking at the rest of our schedule,” senior middle blocker Jess Janota said. “What we need to accomplish in order to make it to the tournament is looking in our favor as long as we stay true to our mission, and keep practicing as hard as we can, and focusing on film, and doing all the right things. Right now, it’s just a matter of execution on our part.”

Making the NCAA Tournament has been a season goal for the Hawkeyes since the beginning. Last season, they were one win short of a bid, so performing better and being more confident than in 2016 is important.

To make the tournament, Iowa will have to keep battling with the top teams in the league while also getting better at playing its game.

“I think this is a very important part of the season,” Janota said. “I think we’ve done really well, and we’ve continued to improve up to this point in the season, and this is just the time that we have to sustain that and keep moving up in order to achieve our goals.”

There were a lot of positive takeaways from Iowa’s last win, against No. 10 Michigan State in a four-set match.

The Hawkeyes out-blocked the Spartans, one of the best blocking teams in the nation, 10-5. Battling with a top team like that boosts the confidence and shows improvement on the court, even this late in the season.

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