Iowa volleyball held to season-low hitting percentage, swept by No. 9 Minnesota

The Hawkeyes hit just .054 throughout three sets against the Gophers.


Lilly Stence

Setter Lily Tessier sets the ball to middle hitter Delaney McSweeney during Iowa volleyball’s match against Minnesota at Xtream Arena on Wednesday, October 19, 2022. The Gophers swept the Hawkeyes.

Kenna Roering, Sports Reporter

Iowa volleyball fell to No. 9 Minnesota, 3-0, inside Xtream Arena on Wednesday. Iowa is now 1-8 in conference play, including two losses to Minnesota, and 7-13 overall.

“Just being a little off in the Big Ten will get you eaten alive,” first-year head coach Jim Barnes said. “It’s just disappointing that we weren’t ready to play.”

How it happened

The Gophers jumped out to a 14-8 lead in the first set, forcing a Hawkeye timeout. Iowa inched its way back as a kill by outside hitter Audrey Black made the score 23-22 in favor of Minnesota, but the Gophers scored the next two points, taking the first set, 25-22. Iowa hit .225 in the first set with 17 kills while Minnesota had 16 kills on .333 hitting.

Setter Bailey Ortega made her first start of the season against the Gophers, tallying six assists and two digs. 

The second set was all Gophers. Minnesota took an 11-2 advantage on a 8-0 run, and the Gophers maintained their lead the rest of the set, winning 25-15. Iowa was held to a -0.057 hitting percentage in the second set with nine kills and 11 errors.

Minnesota jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third set. Kills by Hawkeye middle hitter Amiya Jones and outside hitter Michelle Urquhart cut the Gopher lead to 6-4, but Minnesota cruised to a 25-11 victory, ending the third set on a 19-7 run.

Black led the Iowa offense with eight kills on .150 hitting. Setter Lily Tessier hit .750 with three kills and 19 assists. Libero Mari Hinkle, who leads the Big Ten with 309 total digs, led both squads with 17.

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“It was a rough night tonight. Our energy was off,” Black said. “But, I think, tomorrow we’re going to come into practice really dialed in and ready to prove that’s not us.”

Outside hitter Taylor Landfair led the Gophers, hitting .324 with 13 kills and eight blocks. She led all scorers with 18 points. Landfair ranks second in the Big Ten with 4.52 kills per set and 5.01 points per set. 

The Gophers, who rank third in the conference with 156.5 total team blocks and fourth in the conference with 2.85 blocks per set, tallied 14 blocks over the match. Iowa was held to a season-low .054 hitting efficiency. 

What’s next?

Iowa will travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Friday to take on the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes swept the Hawkeyes in their first meeting on Sep. 23 inside Xtream Arena. 

Match time is set for 6 p.m. and will be streamed on BTN+. 

“We’ll see how tough we are,” Barnes said. “We got tomorrow to practice, and then we hit the road and compete against another great team.”