Iowa volleyball sweeps doubleheader, opens home schedule 2-0

The Hawkeyes defeated both South Dakota State and North Florida on Friday afternoon.


Isabella Cervantes

Iowa middle hitter Amiya Jones celebrates during an Iowa women’s volleyball media conference and scrimmage at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022. Jones played 98 matches in 2021.

Kenna Roering, Sports Reporter

Iowa volleyball swept its opening home slate at Xtream Arena on Friday, winning both matches of a doubleheader against South Dakota State and North Florida at the Hawkeye Invitational. 

In the sixth all-time meeting between Iowa and SDSU, the Hawkeyes swept the Jackrabbits, 25-23, 25-15, and 25-22. Iowa now leads the series versus SDSU, 6-0. 

Outside hitter Edina Schmidt led the team with nine kills, followed by eight from outside hitter  Addie Vanderweide. Hitters Michelle Urquhart and Amiya Jones both finished the match with seven kills, and Jones led the Hawkeyes with two solo blocks and six total.

The Hawkeyes registered a .320 hitting efficiency while holding the Jackrabbits to .222. 

Urquhart, who transferred to Iowa from Tulane, played her first official match inside Xtream Arena on Friday. After playing in an open scrimmage in front of fans in August, she said it felt great to be back on the Hawkeyes’ home court.

“I know we really missed being home,” Urquhart said. “Just being in our own environment was really exciting.”

Later Friday night, Iowa faced off against North Florida. In the Hawkeyes and Ospreys’ first-ever meeting, Iowa took the match in three sets.

The Hawkeyes prevailed in the first set, 25-14, holding the Ospreys to a .143 attack efficiency. 

The second set started off in favor of the Ospreys, as they jumped out to a 12-7 lead. But a solo block by sophomore Toyosi Onabanjo sparked the Hawkeyes, and Iowa climbed back to tie the match at 16. Iowa pulled away to take the set, 25-22. 

The third set was too close for comfort for the Hawkeyes, but kills by Jones and hitter Delaney McSweeney secured the victory, 25-23. 

Urquhart led the Hawkeyes with 11 kills against the Ospreys, including a hitting efficiency of .320. Jones and Onabanjo followed with eight each. 

The Hawkeyes showed more consistency and had fewer errors in their two matches on Friday. Head coach Jim Barnes attributed that progress to the new 6-2 offensive scheme that Iowa has been working on.

“We changed our lineup some,” Barnes said. “We moved into a 6-2 offense, so that we have an extra hitter in there. That’s when [setter Bailey Ortega]  is now setting across the backcourt … So, we’re seeing if it’ll help us be steadier.”

Iowa will play the University of Northern Iowa on Saturday at 2 p.m. to close out the Hawkeye Invitational. The match will be streamed on BTN+.

Both Iowa and UNI are going into the Saturday matchup undefeated in the Hawkeye Invitational. UNI defeated North Florida, 3-0, and SDSU, 3-1, on Friday at Xtream Arena.

Barnes is looking forward to the matchup with the Panthers, as the two programs haven’t played each other since 2003.

“I think it’s a great finish to the tournament, with both teams going in with the chance to win it,” Barnes said. “[Head coach] Bobbi Petersen does a great job with that team. She’s a Hall of Fame coach. Their team will be ready.”