The Daily Iowan

Hawkeye volleyball ready for No. 3 Nebraska on the road

Iowa volleyball will take on Nebraska on Oct. 3. The Hawkeyes will try to burnish their résumé with an upset win over the Huskers.

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Iowa's Brie Orr gets ready to serve during Iowa's match against Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sept. 23, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated 3-1.

Iowa's Brie Orr gets ready to serve during Iowa's match against Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sept. 23, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated 3-1.

Megan Nagorzanski

Megan Nagorzanski

Iowa's Brie Orr gets ready to serve during Iowa's match against Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sept. 23, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated 3-1.

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

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Iowa volleyball will test its grit against No. 3 Nebraska on Wednesday in Lincoln.

After beating Northwestern on the road Sunday, Iowa is 10-5, 2-2 in the Big Ten.

Nebraska is the highest ranked opponent so far this season for Iowa, and the Hawkeyes have struggled against ranked opponents. Illinois swept them, and Michigan beat them in four sets.

Nebraska has proven itself to be an especially tough opponent. The Nebraska squad is coming off a four-set win against No. 7 Illinois, which buzz-sawed Iowa in a sweep last weekend.

The Huskers have fared well against Big Ten opponents this season. Key wins against No. 7 Illinois and No. 18 Michigan are current highlights of their résumé, and both of those wins came in four sets.

Nebraska can get it done in every facet of the game.

Freshman middle Callie Schwarzenbach is the current leader in blocks per set in the Big Ten, with 83. Outside hitter Mikaela Froecke and setter Nicklin Hames have proved to be lethal from the service line — they rank second and third in aces per set in conference play.

“It’s a huge opportunity, so we’re really excited to get out there and do the best we can, and hopefully get a win,” Hawkeye Brie Orr said.

RELATED: Hawkeye volleyball struggles against Illini

If the Hawkeyes are going to put up a fight against the deadly Cornhuskers, their leaders must step up. Taylor Louis and Reghan Coyle struggled against Illinois last weekend, with neither of them posting more than 10 kills.

The story line changed against Northwestern later in the weekend; Louis put up 20 kills and Coyle 18.

“We realized that teams are going to commit blocks on certain people,” Hoye said. “Every block is pretty big in the Big Ten, so once we got our swings going and dialed in, it was kind of easy.”

The Hawkeyes put up a season high in blocks against the Wildcats, with Coyle and Orr posting 9 and 7, respectively. Libero Molly Kelly continued her defensive hot streak as well with 24 digs.

If the Iowa squad can keep up the defensive success it demonstrated against Northwestern on Sept. 30, it will be a fight.

“We’ve been working a lot on the details [of blocking], the focus, the movement, all that stuff,” head coach Bond Shymansky said. “But mostly, that’s translated into the tenacity of it, the personality of a tough blocker. That’s been a really great benefit for our program.”

Especially in a road match against a high-caliber team, Iowa will have to rely heavily on its biggest producers.

The Hawkeyes have enjoyed some success on the road. The squad is 8-4 in venues that aren’t Carver-Hawkeye; they will rely on their road experience in Wednesday night‘s match in Lincoln.

“It’s a huge opportunity, so we’re really excited to get out there and do the best we can, and hopefully get a win,” Orr said.

The week will not get any easier; Iowa will welcome No. 6 Wisconsin to Carver-Hawkeye on Saturday. That is the nature of Big Ten play, though, and Iowa must get its most important pieces working if it is to challenge ranked foes.

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