Iowa volleyball dominated by Nebraska

The Hawkeyes lost to the ‘Huskers in straight sets on Friday night at Xtream Arena.


Lillie Hawker

Iowa setter Lily Tessier sets the ball for a spike during the volleyball game between Iowa and Nebraska at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. The Cornhuskers beat the Hawkeyes 3-0. (Lillie Hawker/The Daily Iowan)

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

For the second time in a seven-day span, the Iowa volleyball team was defeated by the No.6 Nebraska Cornhuskers in straight sets on Friday night at Xtream Arena. 

Nebraska dominated the second half of each set, downing Iowa 25-14, 25-17, and 25-14, to improve to 23-3 on the year. 

Meanwhile, Iowa dropped to 8-20 in head coach Jim Barnes’s first year at the helm. 

“There were moments we battled well, we stayed right with them, but we weren’t able to maintain it,” Barnes said after the match. “We just didn’t serve tough in the first set, and in the second we started serving tougher and we were able to stay with them point by point, but we’d give up one run of points and that would be the difference.”

The Hawkeyes played the ‘Huskers to a 14-14 tie in the second set before dropping 11 of the final 14 points of the set. 

“We were making more digs and our hitters were being really aggressive and going all out effort,” senior setter Lily Tessier said of the second set. “I think we just had some really smart plays, and our blocking was a big help for us. But you know, they just got too many runs after that.”

Iowa held Nebraska to a 20 percent hitting percentage in the second set, 18 percent lower than either of the other two sets. 

Learning from Nebraska

While the Hawkeyes are in a rebuilding phase this season, senior middle hitter Amiya Jones — who led the Hawkeyes with eight kills on Friday —  said Iowa learns something from every match, especially one against a top-10 team in the nation. 

“I think we can learn just their technique, we’ve just looked at their technique and look at the things that they do and just appreciate their skill and how disciplined they are,” Jones said of Nebraska. “I think that if we also build that same type of like technique and discipline, I think we’ll go really far.”

Nebraska was better than Iowa in nearly every statistical category on Friday, hitting at a 23 percent higher rate, recording 19 more set assists, and tallying 21 more digs. 

Big picture

While Iowa’s improvement didn’t show up on the scoreboard, Tessier said she believed her team played much better than it did when the Hawkeyes and ‘Huskers faced off in Lincoln on Nov. 11.

“I think we played better this time around,” Tessier said. “We definitely had some better block touches and I think our hitters did a better job of swinging high. So I think we, you know, we played harder and we were a little bit more successful, but it didn’t end up our way.”

Barnes said while his team takes something from a loss like the one against Nebraska, clearly playing at a different level than Iowa right now, he’s focused on beating the teams near the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten standings. 

“We need to beat these teams here in the area we are, and these next three are teams that we feel that we can compete with and beat,” Barnes said. “ … We’re gonna go out there and give our best effort to do that.”

Up next

Iowa will be back on the court on Sunday to face Illinois at 1 p.m. in Champaign. The last time the Hawkeyes and Illini played, on Oct. 13, 2021, Illinois captured a straight-set win.