Iowa volleyball hits the road for season-opener

Iowa volleyball will kick its season off with three matches at the James Madison Invitational.

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Iowa volleyball hits the road for season-opener

Iowa head coach Bond Shymansky (right) talks with first year associate head coach Vicki Brown during the volleyball Black & Gold scrimmage in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. The Hawkeyes will host their first home game against Nebraska-Omaha at noon on September 1 to kick off the four game Hawkeye Classic.

Iowa head coach Bond Shymansky (right) talks with first year associate head coach Vicki Brown during the volleyball Black & Gold scrimmage in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. The Hawkeyes will host their first home game against Nebraska-Omaha at noon on September 1 to kick off the four game Hawkeye Classic.

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa head coach Bond Shymansky (right) talks with first year associate head coach Vicki Brown during the volleyball Black & Gold scrimmage in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. The Hawkeyes will host their first home game against Nebraska-Omaha at noon on September 1 to kick off the four game Hawkeye Classic.

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa head coach Bond Shymansky (right) talks with first year associate head coach Vicki Brown during the volleyball Black & Gold scrimmage in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. The Hawkeyes will host their first home game against Nebraska-Omaha at noon on September 1 to kick off the four game Hawkeye Classic.

Sydney Becker, Sports Reporter

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Traveling to Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Iowa volleyball team will take on the James Madison Invitational this weekend to compete against Stony Brook, Washington State, and James Madison.

The team will welcome eight new athletes and a new head coach. Joslyn Boyer, Emma Lowes, Kyndra Handsen, Blythe Rients, Emma Grunkemeyer, Grace Tubbs, Edina Schmidt, and Jaedynn Evans make up the new season’s freshman athletes, while Vicki Brown serves as the interim head coach.

Although the newcomers haven’t suited up for the Black and Gold yet, it’s been a long time coming.

“Our incoming freshmen have been counting down for about three years to get to this point,” Brown said. “The benefit is that they have always been about keeping it forward and being part of taking this program to the next step.”

After serving as associate head coach for two seasons, Brown will move forward as the head coach. With the start of her new position, Brown brought in the 24th-ranked recruiting class in the nation for the year.

“We’ve been having a really good, competitive last thirteen days,” Brown said. “We’re just looking forward to continuing that as we progress through the season.”

RELATED: Hawkeye volleyball looking to change expectations

Hawkeyes to watch

With 10 blocks in a game, sophomore Hannah Clayton tied Iowa’s all-time top-10 against Indiana last season.

The teams 2019 captains are junior Brie Orr and seniors Emily Bushman and Meghan Buzzerio.

Buzzerio, a fifth-year senior, set career-highs in attack percentage, attempts, assists, blocks, and kills in the 2018 season, which included 23 kills in a game at the end of the season. The offseason called for growth in personal and team skills to push forward as a whole.

“As a team, we grew confidence in each other,” Buzzerio said. “We’re pushing ourselves to be uncomfortable a little bit, to grow in our skills as a team. A big [goal] is to make the NCAA Tournament this year. We kind of have that in the back of our mind, that every match is important to help us get to our goal. Every match is one that we have to focus on because it all will lead to our bigger goal at the end of the season.”

Her teammates trust her, as well. Orr was named a captain for the Hawkeyes ahead of their 2019 season.

“It’s awesome. It’s such an honor to be a captain on this team,” Orr said. “It lets me know that I have to do a lot for this team and they’re going to do a lot for me.”

Iowa will take on Stony Brook at 11 a.m today before it competes Saturday against No. 22 Washington State at 9 a.m. and James Madison at 6 p.m.

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