JMU win sets tone for 2019 Volleyball season

The Hawkeyes take the season opener with three wins at the JMU Invitational.


Megan Nagorzanski

Brie Orr serves the ball during Iowa’s match against Eastern Illinois on Sunday, September 9, 2018 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes won the match 3-0.(Megan Nagorzanski/ The Daily Iowan)

Sydney Becker, Sports Reporter

In Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Hawkeyes started the 2019 season with wins over Stony Brook (3-1), No. 22 Washington State (3-0), and James Madison (3-0). The season started with Meghan Buzzerio, Brie Orr, and Emily Bushman being named captains.

“We work so hard to not let the other team score and to put the ball down. We know we have the opportunity to,” Orr said. “Mostly in the past we’ve always just become so close to winning a lot of big games, and this year we really want to capitalize and take those games and just get a really big win out of them.”

The first game of the season started with collegiate debuts from Blythe Rients, Jaedynn Evans, Kyndra Hansen, and Emma Grunkemeyer. Junior Griere Hughes and sophomore Amiya Jones marked career highs in kills with 14 and 12 kills, respectively.

“Our players did a good job of coming out with a lot of energy,” Interim head coach Vicki Brown said in a release. “They came out with a bang and that was our initial bang. We wanted to take control of the game.”

The second game of the weekend against No. 22 Washington State led to Iowa’s first victory over the team in three total matches. Junior Halle Johnston hit a career high in digs with a total of 21 throughout the three matches. Senior Meghan Buzzerio hit a career high with six kills.

Brown marks this as her first win for the 2019 season.

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“We came in as a staff and as my new role here as a head coach, it’s always been about what’re we doing next,” she said. “I believe within that mindset we’ve been able to really accomplish some good things this summer.”

The last game of the invitational against James Madison was killed by the Hawkeyes, 3-0. With the conclusion of the tournament, Orr was named tournament MVP, and Buzzerio was named to the All-Tournament team.

With a goal to make it to the NCAA tournament this year, each athlete has their views aligned.

“I think it starts with practice every single day. We have to be able to apply what we want to do on the court at practice,” Buzzerio said. “High expectations at practice, keeping each other accountable, and just having that mindset of leading.”

The bar was set high over the weekend as Iowa took the title after dropping only one set in three matches. Starting the season with an incredible first tournament sets the team up for success throughout their season and growth as a team, according to the athletes themselves.

The Hawkeyes will take on their first home game of the new season inside Carver Hawkeye Arena against Colorado this Friday in the Pac-12/Big Ten challenge.

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