Boyer and Ortega career highs not enough for Iowa volleyball against Indiana

Iowa lost its second match in Xtream Arena in heartbreaking fashion, 3-2.


Casey Stone

Iowa Defensive Specialist Joslyn Boyer dives for the ball during the Iowa Volleyball game against Indiana on Feb. 6, 2021 at Xtream Arena. Indiana defeated Iowa 3-2.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

The Iowa volleyball team split its two-day doubleheader against Indiana in its first matches in Xtream Arena. The Hawkeyes beat the Hoosiers on Friday, 3-1, and lost in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, 3-2.

Hannah Clayton, Joslyn Boyer, and Bailey Ortega all had career highs over the two-game stretch. 

The Hawkeyes took a back and forth first set on Saturday that saw nine lead changes and required 30 points. 

The second set was much uglier for Iowa, as Indiana went on an 18-3 run to win it, 25-14. 

“They changed up a little bit of their attacking strategy and started working the line a little bit more,”  Iowa head coach Vicki Brown said. “They were swinging a lot more cross-court the first night and then they changed it up on the line and started finding the middles a bit more to create a little more hesitation with our middle blockers and get close to the outside.”

The Hawkeyes dropped the third set as well, 25-18, but won a nail-biter in the fourth, 25-23, to push the match to a fifth set. Blythe Rients tallied a kill and a block in a 6-1 run late in the set that carried Iowa to the fifth. 

The final set came down to the wire with five lead changes, but the Indiana playmakers were up for the challenge late. Second-team All-Big Ten outside hitter Breana Edwards had two kills in the 4-1 run that took the final set, 15-13.

“It was definitely a grind, five sets, going close to over points in the fifth and over points in the first,” Buzzerio said. “I think having a month of preseason definitely put me in the best position physically and then recovery last night, getting a good night’s sleep, and then recovering with our [athletic training staff] this morning was definitely a big thing.”

RELATED: Hannah Clayton leads Iowa volleyball to its first win of the season

Buzzerio had a triple-double in Saturday’s match with 13 kills, 21 assists, and 11 digs. 

Ortega had a career-high 29 assists for Iowa to go along with two service aces and two digs. Buzzerio and Ortega connected well on offense as 11 of Ortega’s assists were finished off by Buzzerio. 

“It’s a great feeling,” Ortega said. “You know the backcourt worked really hard tonight in getting me a great pass and obviously, my hitters putting it away just makes my job a lot easier. Courtney is a solid hitter for us, and she [has] been for a while. She is really consistent, so if anything ever happens she can be our go-to.”

Clayton had a career-high 13 kills, and Boyer also set a career-high in digs with 21.

“Joslyn is one of six, and she is the oldest, so her taking the impact of the swing and getting those 21 digs, we always knew that she was going to come in with a different kind of grit mentality,” Brown said. 

In Friday’s match, Iowa dropped its first set, 25-20. The Hawkeyes bounced back and won the next three sets, solidifying their first win of the 2021 season. 

Clayton shined for the Hawkeyes in that match with a career-high 13 digs, eight blocks, and a .667 hitting percentage. 

Iowa played tough defense at the net by out blocking Indiana, 17-9.

“We were very well rounded in night one, but we lost a couple of our offensive stats from some players [in night two],” Brown said. “Getting them back into the rhythm and getting them pretty much a reset to the point that anything we redefine a little bit will be ready to go [against Ohio State].”