Iowa volleyball sweeps Rutgers, gets dominated by No. 7 Penn State

Iowa managed to get back in the win column after beating Rutgers on Friday night, but was swept by No. 7 Penn State on Saturday.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa junior Cali Hoye prepares to spike the ball during a volleyball match between Iowa and Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. The Hawkeyes were shut out by the Nittany Lions, 3-0.

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

A five-match losing streak trailed Iowa volleyball in its weekend matches against Rutgers and No. 7 Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye.

The team’s halted the streak in a Nov. 2 sweep of Rutgers.

The Hawkeyes have had struggles in recent weeks. The chemistry that was once obvious has been lackluster, and production has been slow. Largely this has been because of the absence of standout Cali Hoye in the last several matches.

The Hawkeyes, however, got it going against Rutgers.

The production started early for Iowa. Reghan Coyle gave the Hawkeye the coveted early match momentum with a kill to open play. The Hawkeyes slid into a lead they did not lose, winning the set at an easy 25-16.

“We wanted to work on starting out strong,” Coyle said. “In the past, we kind of got down at the beginning of sets, and then it’s hard to work your way back up. We did a nice job of setting the intensity high at the start.”

Rutgers gained some footing in the second set and crept out to a 4-point lead. However, Iowa clawed its way back and tied the set at 13 before catching fire and grabbing the set, 25-20. This was largely due to the presence of Hoye, who scored the final 4 points of the set.

She continued to contribute in the third set as Iowa gained an early lead it again, never gave up. Freshman Amiya Jones contributed the final point of the set to win it, 25-17.

Hoye made the contributions Iowa has become accustomed to with a team-high 13 kills on the night.

The team’s chemistry reappeared, and Brie Orr tallied 39 assists on the night and the Hawkeye hitting percentage was .284.

“The big thing for us is being efficient and effective,” head coach Bond Shymansky said. “We talked all week in our preparation about getting that Hawkeye mentality back and our True Mental Toughness.”

With the losing streak finally ended, Iowa turned its attention to No. 7 Penn State.

RELATED: Iowa volleyball yearns to end losing streak in matches against Penn State and Rutgers

Fresh off a tough five-set loss to No. 3 Nebraska the night before, Penn State was hungry for a win. It happened in dominating fashion.

Penn State nabbed an early lead in the first set, pulling to a 15-9 lead early. It never relinquished the lead despite Iowa’s late-set runs. Penn State grabbed the first set, 25-18.

Iowa managed to seize its first lead of the match early in the second set, but Penn State then went on a late run. Iowa managed to keep it close but dropped the second set, 25-20.

The third set was all Penn State. The team jumped out early and went on a run late in the set to claim it with the dominating score of 25-17.

The Nittany Lions, defensively, squashed any Hawkeye offense the team could muster. With 12 blocks, Penn State held Iowa to a hitting percentage of .109 on the night.

Three Penn State freshmen ran the tables for the match. Jonni Parker, Kaitlyn Hord, and Serena Gray together tallied 31 kills.

“It was tough,” senior Taylor Louis said. “We’re trying to find our groove again, and I think tonight was way better than we’ve been playing, and that’s really important. [We are] focusing on our mission every day.”

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