Iowa volleyball’s offensive production looks to improve in road tournament

The Hawkeyes lost both games in their home-opening weekend, and most of that was due to the offensive output.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa outside hitter Meghan Buzzerio goes for a kill during a volleyball match between Iowa and Colorado in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, September 6, 2019. The Hawkeyes dropped their season opener to the Buffaloes, 3-0.

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

After a tough weekend at home, Iowa volleyball goes back on the road for the South Dakota Tournament that begins today.

The Hawkeyes open up their weekend with two Friday games, first facing Wyoming at 10 a.m. and followed by UC Davis at 4:30 p.m. The weekend finale comes on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. when Iowa faces the tournament host South Dakota. 

Iowa started off its season strong with a sweep of the James Madison tournament, beating Stony Brook, 3-1, and sweeping No. 22 Washington State and James Madison. 

It hit a roadblock at home the next weekend, losing 3-0 to then unranked No. 19 Colorado and 3-1 to No. 12 Washington. 

Iowa’s attacking has been its leading force, and when it falters, the Hawkeyes begin to struggle. 

They tallied a whopping .416 hitting percentage in their first game of the season, with 57 kills against Stony Brook and a season-low 10 errors. 

Flip to the opposite for their three sets against Colorado. Iowa only hit for a .218 hitting percentage, with 16 errors leading to the downfall. 

RELATED: Iowa volleyball falls at Carver Hawkeye Arena

Moving into the back row, it also struggled against the Buffaloes on Sept. 6 to open up Iowa’s home schedule. It had a season-low 30 digs, which didn’t pair well with the low hitting percentage. 

Things got better against Washington, when Iowa hit for a .261 percentage and 56 kills. The back row stepped up as well, tallying 63 digs – 14 more than its previous single-game high of 49. 

In head-to-head statistics, Iowa is outhitting its opponents by a wide margin. Iowa’s total .288 hitting percentage is compared to an opponent .174 hitting percentage, with 34 kills and 38 errors being the difference between the Hawkeyes and their foes. 

As for Iowa’s opponents this weekend, all have winning records on the season. Wyoming is 4-2, UC Davis is 5-2, and South Dakota is 6-1. 

Beginning with Wyoming, the Cowgirls have dominated their first competition of the season, sweeping three of their four wins so far. Sophomore outside hitter KC McMahon is their toughest weapon in the front row, averaging 4.13 kills per set with 62 total to lead her team. Junior middle blocker Jackie McBride is a force at the net with 1.20 blocks per set. 

No matter what rotation, UC Davis’ outside hitters are strong. Mahalia White and Lauren Matias have 74 and 69 kills, respectively, to lead the offense. White and Matias also are two of only three Aggies to have over 100 attack attempts, and White leads all hitters with over 25 attempts with a .370 hitting percentage. 

South Dakota’s only loss on the season has come to Iowa State, who it was swept by in its only non-tournament play so far on the season. In their last weekend of competition, the Coyotes didn’t drop a single set to Tulsa, Kansas or Louisiana Tech at the UMKC Classic. Freshman outside hitter Elizabeth Juhnke leads their offense with 96 kills and averages 4.17 per set. 

Following this weekend, Iowa returns home on Sept. 20 for the beginning of the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament.