Lineup Preview: 2021-22 Iowa volleyball

The Hawkeyes will have veteran experience in the 2021-22 campaign as no seniors departed from last season’s team.

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Jerod Ringwald

The Hawkeyes huddle up before a women’s volleyball match between Iowa and Indiana at Xtream Arena on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 3 sets to 1.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter


The Hawkeye volleyball team finished 4-16 in the Big Ten’s conference-only 2020-21 spring season.

Iowa was a young team last season that started three underclassmen and carried no seniors on the roster. The Hawkeyes have a short offseason ahead of them as they prepare for a fall season starting this August.

Here’s the lineup that may take the floor at Xtream Arena in Coralville this fall.

S, Bailey Ortega (5-foot-9, sophomore)

Ortega, along with Audrey Black and Leanne Lowry, was one of three freshmen who received consistent playing time during the 2020-21 spring season. The Davenport, Iowa, native split time with then-junior Courtney Buzzerio at the setter position.

Ortega surpassed 20 assists in eight matches, including a five-match streak when she averaged 27 assists per match.

OH/S, Courtney Buzzerio (6-foot-5, senior)

The Chino Hills, California, native played every rotation in the 2020-21 season, splitting her time between setter and outside hitter.

In her junior season, Buzzerio received first-team All-Big Ten and American Volleyball Coaches Association North Region honorable mention honors. Buzzerio led the team in kills and service aces and finished second in assists.

In the 2020-21 season, she tallied a team-high eight double-doubles and was one of 22 players in the nation to manufacture a triple-double on the court.

OH, Edina Schmidt (6-foot-1, junior)

During her sophomore campaign in 2020-21, Schmidt saw more time on the court compared to her freshman season.

After tallying only 84 kills as a freshman, Schmidt finished second on the team in kills in the 2020-21 season with 183 — only one behind Buzzerio’s 184. Schmidt also led the team in attack attempts.

Schmidt accomplished a career-high 21 kills against Rutgers on Feb. 19, making her the only Hawkeye to tally 20 or more kills in the season.

MB, Amiya Jones (6-foot-2, senior)

 Jones was sidelined for the first six games of last season but came back against Ohio State on Feb. 12. Throughout the rest of the season, she had a .254 hitting percentage.

As a whole, the Hawkeyes finished 12th in the Big Ten in hitting percentage in 2020-21.

RELATED: Iowa volleyball program adds libero transfer, new assistant coach

MB, Hannah Clayton (6-foot-2, senior)

Clayton garnered a .349 hitting percentage in the 2020-21 season, a mark that ranked 10th in the Big Ten.

In a career game against Northwestern University on Feb. 26, Clayton set two career-highs with 14 kills and nine total blocks.

Clayton and Jones will share time as middle blocker in 2021-22.

DS, Maddie Slagle (5-foot-9, senior)

Slagle started the first three matches of the 2020-21 season and averaged 1.7 receiving errors and 4.3 digs before losing her starting spot to Lowry.

Slagle regained her spot in the lineup five matches later and improved to 6.4 digs per match.

DS/L, Mari Hinkle (5-foot-9, junior)

Iowa volleyball added UCLA transfer Mari Hinkle on June 10 after the departure of starting libero Joslyn Boyer, who left for Wisconsin’s volleyball program in May.

Boyer shined as the Hawkeyes’ libero in the 2020-21 season, tallying 279 digs — the ninth most in the Big Ten. Hinkle will bring NCAA Tournament experience to the Hawkeyes. She recorded five digs in the first round of the national tournament as a freshman.

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