Hawkeye volleyball sweeps Scarlet Knights in New Jersey

A long road trip to New Jersey yields a second straight win for Iowa volleyball, as the squad swept Rutgers, 3-0.


Megan Nagorzanski

Taylor Louis keeps the ball in play during Iowa’s match against Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sept. 23, 2018.

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

Iowa volleyball traveled across the country for a match against Rutgers on Wednesday night, and it will return to Iowa City with a sweep.

Coming off of a big win against top-10 Wisconsin, Iowa was ready to do some more damage in the Big Ten. However, the match started slowly for Iowa.

The Hawkeyes kept a steady lead for the set, but it was certainly closer than they would have liked.

Iowa’s service game, though, was strong in the first set. The team racked up 3 aces from Brie Orr, Amiya Jones, and Cali Hoye.

Taylor Louis and Hoye, fresh off dominating performances against Wisconsin, were instrumental in keeping the Hawkeyes on top in the first. However, contributions came from all over the floor.

Hannah Clayton, Orr, and Jones were offensive contributors in the first, all posting kills that would lead to a 25-21 set win after a closing kill by Louis.

Iowa’s defense lagged in the first set. It allowed Rutgers to post a hitting percentage of .424 as Rutgers outpaced Iowa in kills.

“I thought we did pretty well offensively, but we have a lot of work to do in terms of our defense,” Iowa head coach Bond Shymansky said in a release. “But I liked the gritty win. It was hot in the gym, and our team had to dig deep to keep battling.”

The second set was similar to the first. Iowa grabbed an early lead that it never relinquished, but Rutgers managed to keep it close.

Iowa’s defense was better, with 2 blocks from Louis and Clayton, and the Hawkeyes lowered the Rutgers hitting percentage to .286.

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The Scarlet Knights put up a fight, though, in the latter part of the set, led by middle blocker Jasmine Stackhouse and outside hitter Tali Marmen.

Iowa scraped by after Orr set up Hoye with a kill to end the set at a score of 25-23

Iowa finally found its groove in the third set, nabbing an early 9-3 lead with the help of kills from Louis, Hoye, and Reghan Coyle.

Again, contributions came from all over. Freshman Sarah Wing came off the bench and posted a kill late in the set and contributed defensively with a block.

The usual suspects of Coyle, Louis, and Hoye picked up their play in the third set as well. Hoye would post 4 kills in the third set, along with a service ace.

As was the case with the second set, Iowa grabbed the win with an assist from Orr that led to a kill by Hoye.

The defense picked up in the third for the Hawkeyes as well. They held the Scarlet Knights to a .111 hitting percentage, largely because of 4 big Hawkeye blocks.

The third set was very clean for the Hawkeyes. Iowa posted a high hitting percentage of .579, which made it to .398 for the night. Iowa typically fares well when it hits consistently, and the third set of the match was no exception.

Louis led the night with 13 kills, and Hoye trailed close behind with 12. Molly Kelly was solid with 10 digs.

“Taylor Louis was unstoppable tonight, and I thought Reghan Coyle did a great job as well,” Shymansky said in a release. “Hats off to Brie Orr for moving the ball around and finding good options. This was a great momentum win. Now we have to get ready for Purdue.”

NCAA Tournament hopes are dancing in the heads of the Iowa volleyball squad. If the team is to make a convincing argument, it must handle teams such as Rutgers with ease. While the Hawkeyes managed to sweep the Knights, the squad must keep its focus in check as it progresses through the season.