Iowa volleyball falls in five sets to Ball State

The Hawkeyes lost, 3-2, at Xtream Arena Friday night. Iowa is now 0-6 to start the season.

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Casey Stone

Iowa outside hitter Audrey Black and Iowa setter Bailey Ortega high five one another during the Iowa Volleyball season opener game against Illinois on Jan. 22, 2021 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Illinois defeated Iowa 3-1.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter


Iowa volleyball dropped the first two sets of its match against Ball State at Xtream Arena in Coralville Friday night, and the Hawkeyes couldn’t claw their way out of the early hole they found themselves in.

Before Iowa ultimately lost, 3-2, it did pick up consecutive victories in the third and fourth sets to force the game-deciding fifth set.  

“The third and fourth sets definitely saw a lot of things we’ve been working on the past couple of weeks with our defense,” Iowa head coach Vicki Brown said postgame. “And then also with our scramble play effort and just making the plays, like if we get ourselves in a little bit of trouble with the first contact in the serve-receive, then that cover ball is coming up, so just that supportive play no matter what the fix needs to be.”

Hawkeye senior Courtney Buzzerio led the match with 22 kills and earned the final kills in the third and fourth sets. The outside hitter from Chino Hills, California, attributed the Hawkeyes’ success in the third and fourth sets to their heightened level of focus.

“All six of us on the court were engaged and looking forward to the next point,” Buzzerio said. “We weren’t thinking about the missed serve we did three or four points back. Whether we won or lost the point we were looking forward to the next one.” 

BIG PICTURE

Following their loss to Ball State Friday, the Hawkeyes now sit at 0-6 on the season. Iowa is the Big Ten Conference’s only winless team.

Despite that, there are still some positives the Hawkeyes can take from Friday night’s game.  Iowa out-killed the Cardinals, 66-58. The Hawkeyes, however, recorded 20 more attack errors than Ball State.

ORTEGA SETS CAREER HIGH IN ASSISTS 

Sophomore setter Bailey Ortega secured a career-high 49 assists against Ball State — eclipsing her previous best, 45, that she set earlier this season in the Hawkeyes’ matchup against Duke.

“I think that our passers worked really, really hard,” Ortega said. “On top of that, it makes my job a lot easier. I’ve said it multiple times, but when my hitters are confident and they’re talking to me, it makes my life a whole lot easier to know that I can go to anyone, and they can put the ball away and execute.” 

UP NEXT

Iowa will play the final match of the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday against Iowa State.

The Cyclones are 6-1 this fall, and defeated Ball State and Syracuse in the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament Friday. Iowa State’s sole loss of the season came against then-No. 17 Penn State on Sept. 3.

Iowa State leads the all-time series with the Hawkeyes, 28-23, and won the last Cy-Hawk meeting in 2019, 3-2.

The Hawkeyes last defeated Iowa State in 2018, but that victory was vacated. So, the last time Iowa officially took down the Cyclones was the 2015 season.

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