Iowa volleyball ready for final home matches

The Hawkeyes will play their last two home contests of the 2021 season this week at Xtream Arena in Coralville.


Larry Phan

Iowa right-side hitter Courtney Buzzerio goes for the kill during a volleyball match at Xtream Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Buzzerio recorded 13 kills in the match. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 3-0.

Dawson Moore, Sports Reporter

Iowa volleyball face its last two home matches of 2021 this week. The Hawkeyes will host No. 8 Minnesota and unranked Maryland this week at Xtream Arena in Coralville.

Iowa will hold its annual senior night Saturday. The Hawkeyes currently have four seniors on their roster: Outside hitter Courtney Buzzerio, middle blockers Amiya Jones and Hannah Clayton, and defensive specialist Maddie Slagle.

“They are not only some of the best athletes this program has ever had, but also some of the best people it’s ever seen,” Iowa interim coach Dave Brown said Tuesday. “I cannot describe in words what they mean to me personally, along with the program. The four of them are really special and I can’t wait to celebrate them this weekend.”

Buzzerio has been Iowa’s best player this year. She’s already racked up 347 kills — a single-season career-high — and 115 digs.

Buzzerio earned All-Big Ten honors as a junior. She’s amassed 847 kills and 423 digs in her four-year career.

Jones has also etched her way into Iowa volleyball’s record books. Her .289 career hitting percentage is the second-best any Hawkeye has ever registered.

Slagle has been creating second-chance opportunities for the Hawkeyes since she arrived at Iowa in 2018. She’s accumulated 724 digs over her four years in the Black and Gold.

Clayton has been one of Iowa’s most versatile players since 2018. She’s played 367 sets as Hawkeye, piling up 522 kills, 67 digs, and 278 block assists.

Buzzerio, Clayton, Jones, Slagle, and the Hawkeyes will face the Golden Gophers Thursday night at 6 p.m. Minnesota boasts 16-6 overall and 11-3 Big Ten records this season.

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Outside hitter Stephanie Samedy has been the Gophers’ most dangerous player in 2021, recording 377 kills on the season, and is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week.

“With Minnesota on Thursday, they have Stephanie Samedy, and she’s obviously going to get her kills,” Buzzerio said. “I think our game plan is to slow down their middle and their outsides. Obviously, we want to try to slow her down, but it’s going to be tough to stop her.”

Iowa will play its last home game of the 2021 season against Maryland on Saturday. The Terrapins have 18-8 overall and 6-8 Big Ten records. Maryland outside hitter Sam Csire leads the Terrapins with 319 kills this year.

The Hawkeyes will face off against Maryland Saturday at 7 p.m. at Xtream Arena. Each of Iowa’s last two home matches will stream live on BTN+.

The Hawkeyes will play their last four games of this season on the road. Iowa will take on Ohio State in Columbus and Indiana in Bloomington on Nov. 19 and 21, respectively.

The Hawkeyes are scheduled to wrap up their 2021 campaign with an east coast road trip Nov. 26-27. Iowa will play Rutgers and Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania, and Piscataway, New Jersey.