Iowa finds footing with win over Indiana

On Sunday afternoon, the Hawkeyes were able to snap their six-game losing streak with a win over Indiana. Blythe Rients recorded a career-best 11 blocks.


Abby Watkins

Iowa middle blocker Hannah Clayton and setter Courtney Buzzerio reach for the ball during the Iowa volleyball game against Indiana on Sunday Oct. 20 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 3-1.

Austin Hanson, Sports Reporter

The goal for Iowa volleyball for the last three weeks has been to right the ship. Sunday afternoon, it seemed the Hawkeyes’ ship was upgraded from wind power to steam power.

After a first-set loss, it seemed like the Hawkeyes would be in for another long afternoon. However, the events that unfolded at Carver-Hawkeye Arena proved to be just the opposite.

Iowa rattled off three-straight set victories, dominating in all facets of the game. The Hawkeyes even held the Hoosiers to single digits in the third set, winning 25-9.

Courtney Buzzerio was particularly impressive on the day. The sophomore hitter showed her versatility, posting 15 kills and six blocks. Buzzerio lead the Hawkeyes in kills and was second on the team in blocks.

“She’s doing a lot on her own,” junior Brie Orr said. “She’s putting the ball away.”

This is high praise coming from Orr, as the junior setter plays a determining role in the number of kills Buzzerio is able to put away.

Buzzerio’s stellar play was certainly the highlight of the afternoon. However, the surprise of the day came from a freshman.

Blythe Rients stepped into a starting role on Sunday and did not disappoint. Rients recorded 11 blocks over the course of four sets. Her 11 blocks were good for sixth on the University of Iowa’s all-time single-game blocks list.

Rients is the latest freshman to play a prominent role for the Hawkeyes this season. As the season has progressed, Iowa’s freshmen have continued to grow and produce at an elite level.

“We use the analogy of the horse and buggy,” head coach Vicki Brown said. “A horse will always have blinders on just to keep his perception very narrow. I think [the underclassmen] are finally settling in to showtime at Carver Arena. They’re settling into their games. They’re able to execute whether we’re on TV or not, or home or away.”

The show the Hawkeyes put on at Carver-Hawkeye Arena also helped them snap a six-game losing streak that lasted 21 days. Iowa is now 2-6 in conference and 8-11 overall.

“We’re all sick of losing,” Orr said. “We just all had to turn it around.”

The Hawkeyes have certainly made a strong move towards getting their season back on track, but that doesn’t mean the focus has shifted from improvement.

“I think there’s still work to do,” Brown said. “We’re young, and every day our plan is to get better. We understand that it’s the Big Ten. Every team is going to bring something different, a new form of adversity. It’s just growing our familiarity with that adversity and finding ways to execute.”

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Buzzerio shared her coach’s sentiment, acknowledging that the win was nice to have but the season is far from over.

“Every team always needs to work on things and get better” Buzzerio said. “With a win under our belt we can put the pieces together faster.”

With the six-game losing streak officially behind them, the Hawkeyes now look to find a hot streak. Iowa will travel to Indiana this weekend for its next matchup against Purdue and a rematch against the Hoosiers.

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