Ohio State tops Iowa in both matches of volleyball weekend series

Iowa lost both matches in three sets but forced multiple over points in the first and second sets Saturday.


Jerod Ringwald

Joslyn Boyer digs the ball from the ground and passes it to teammate, Hannah Clayton, during a women’s volleyball match between Iowa and Indiana at Xtream Arena on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

The Iowa volleyball team continues its search for an elusive road win, after it dropped both matches in three sets at Ohio State this weekend.

Ohio State continued its undefeated start, grabbing its fifth and sixth wins of the season. Iowa moved to 1-7 on the year.

Saturday’s match was neck and neck throughout, with the first two sets requiring extra points, but the third was not as close.

Iowa came back from a two-point deficit late in the first set to force ties at 24, 25, and 26, before Iowa’s two straight errors gave Ohio State the first set win, 28-26.

“We talked about our gameday focus and re-adjusting our routine,” head coach Vicki Brown said in a release. “That was a big contributor to how we started in the first set.”

Iowa fended off three set points in the second set to tie it at 24 and then take the lead, but Ohio State battled and forced ties at 25, 26, and 27 before taking the set, 29-27.

That was the heartbreaking night Iowa had as the team had five set points throughout the match but couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities.

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Ohio State won the third set, 25-18, as Emily Witte’s six kills and one block in that set carried the Buckeyes.

“We have to keep the focus wheel rolling and finish sets. We missed serves in the middle, which caused us to lose our lead and momentum heading into the last five points,” Brown said. “Our passing line of Joslyn Boyer, Maddie Slagle, Leanne Lowry, and Edina Schmidt did a great job in both sets. They kept us in sets one and two.”

None of the Hawkeyes finished with double-digit kills in either match but Blythe Rients was very efficient on Saturday, as she slated eight kills and a .538 hitting percentage.

Junior middle blocker Hannah Clayton has had a hitting percentage over .300 for the last five games with her .308 percentage Friday and .357 performance Saturday.

The Buckeyes were led in kills by junior outside hitter Vanja Bukilić for the first time this season, with 14 in Saturday’s match.

Freshman Emily Londot came into the weekend with the fifth-highest kills per set in the conference, and she continued her hot streak this weekend for Ohio State. The Utica, Ohio, native tallied 10 kills Friday and 12 Saturday.

The Hawkeyes’ loss on Friday to Ohio State was not as close, as Iowa got over the 20-point mark once.

Iowa mustered only 17 points in the first and 15 in the second, before posting a better 21-point performance in the third.

Junior middle blocker Amiya Jones’s .305 hitting percentage led the Hawkeyes last season and was 13th in the Big Ten.

She made her first appearance of the season with her start on Friday and tallied four kills and a block. Jones also added six kills and a block for Iowa on Saturday.

Ohio State came into the matchup at the top of the conference in digs with sophomore libero Kylie Murr as the fifth-highest player in digs per set in the league.

While Ohio State out-digged Iowa in both matches, it was Iowa’s libero, Joslyn Boyer, who set game-highs in digs in both matches with 19 on Friday and 20 on Saturday.

“Joslyn Boyer, Edina Schmidt, and Blythe Rients showed a lot of heart tonight,” Brown said Friday. “We started out each set offensively out of rhythm. In this conference, it’s an uphill climb to find it during the match.”