Iowa volleyball looks to win fifth consecutive home opener

The Hawkeyes are preparing to take the win for the fifth consecutive year at the opening game in Carver Hawkeye Arena in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.

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Iowa volleyball looks to win fifth consecutive home opener

Iowa junior Meghan Buzzerio prepares to spike the ball during a volleyball match between Iowa and Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, November 3, 2018. The Hawkeyes were shut out by the Nittany Lions, 3-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa junior Meghan Buzzerio prepares to spike the ball during a volleyball match between Iowa and Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, November 3, 2018. The Hawkeyes were shut out by the Nittany Lions, 3-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa junior Meghan Buzzerio prepares to spike the ball during a volleyball match between Iowa and Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, November 3, 2018. The Hawkeyes were shut out by the Nittany Lions, 3-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Shivansh Ahuja

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa junior Meghan Buzzerio prepares to spike the ball during a volleyball match between Iowa and Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, November 3, 2018. The Hawkeyes were shut out by the Nittany Lions, 3-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Sydney Becker, Sports Reporter

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The Iowa volleyball team will take on its first home games of the season this weekend in two 7 p.m. starts against Colorado and No. 16 Washington today and Saturday, respectively. 

Following a season-opening weekend of three wins against Stony Brook (3-1), No. 22 Washington State (3-0), and James Madison (3-0), it’s important that the team is coming home on a high note. 

The win over Stony Brook held a mark in career highs by junior Griere Hughes with 14 kills. Hughes currently leads the outside hitters with a hitting percentage of .404 for the start of the season. 

The defeat of Washington State marked the first victory over the Cougars in three sets, as well as the first win this season over a ranked opponent. The last time the team defeated a ranked opponent outside of Carver-Hawkeye Arena was in 2012 against Purdue. 

In the second game of the James Madison Tourament, two more Hawkeyes tallied career highs. Senior captain Meghan Buzzerio hit a career high in kills with a total of six, while junior Halle Johnston marked a career high with 21 digs. 

Finishing the tournament downing James Madison, Courtney Buzzerio followed her sister’s lead to win the first set after an intense change in power. In the final set, the Hawks pulled through after tying the game 25-25 after the 23rd point.

To close the weekend, junior captain Brie Orr was named MVP while Meghan Buzzerio was named all-tournament. 

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

RELATED: JMU win sets tone for 2019 volleyball season

This also marked the first win for the 2019 season by interim head coach Vicki Brown, making her the first head coach in school history to win the first three matches of the season. 

“[Brie Orr, Meghan Buzzerio, and Emily Bushman] willed this team through the whole tournament. Emily Bushman came in late in the third set and took command and made her presence known,” Brown said in a release. “Our captains truly were the ones who were driving us through this match point-by-point. Great win for us and I am getting excited for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.”

Being 0-2 in Iowa history against Colorado, the team is looking to take some victories. After one week of competition, Colorado is coming into the weekend 3-0 after wins over Wyoming, LIU Brooklyn, and UC Santa Barbara. Offensively, Justine Spann runs the team with 5.25 kills per set and 99 assists by Jenna Ewert. 

The team will take on No. 16 Washington on Saturday after entering the weekend 2-1 with wins over St. John’s and San Diego, as well as a loss from No. 20 Hawaii. Iowa will be looking at Kara Bajema, who has tallied 37 kills — 4.88 kills per set — through only eight sets since the beginning of the season. Iowa is also 0-2 in program history against the Huskies.

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