The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s volleyball falls short to No. 12 Minnesota in Big Ten opener

Despite two big runs, the Hawkeyes lost in five sets.
Theodore Retsinas
Outside hitter Nataly Moravec is seen spiking the ball during a volleyball match between Iowa and Grand Canyon University at Xtream Arena in Coralville on September 10, 2023. The Antleopes defeated the Hawkeyes, 3-0.

The Iowa volleyball team fell in its Big Ten home opener against No.12 Minnesota in five sets at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Thursday night. 

The Hawkeyes went back and forth with the Golden Gophers all match long. Minnesota claimed the first set, 25-14, and third set, 25-16. But Iowa responded each time, winning the second set, 25-20, and fourth set, 26-24.

Still, the Hawkeyes were unable to secure the win, falling in the fifth set, 15-6. 

Iowa outside hitter and Texas State transfer Caitlan Buettner led the way for the Hawkeyes with 17 kills and eight digs. Iowa outside hitter Nataly Moravec also put up a strong performance with seven kills and 12 digs of her own, followed by fellow outside hitter Michelle Urquhart tallying seven kills, 14 digs, and an assist. 

Iowa setter Bailey Ortega contributed as the main facilitator with 19 assists for the match. The 5-foot-9 senior plays every game with a team-first mentality no matter the outcome.

“It’s really easy for me to just continue to push through because I want to be great for my teammates,” Ortega said. “That’s just what I continue to think … putting my teammates first, keep thinking that I want to give them a good ball … That’s really my main priority with [the team].”

An offensive identity

And Moravec continues to be one of Ortega’s main targets to generate offense. The 6-foot-2 sophomore highlighted the strengths of this team in tonight’s long-winded effort but acknowledged what needs to be improved upon.

“We had some really good moments, just keeping [the ball] in and getting in their heads,” Moravec said. “If we can just pull together as a team and just keep it consistent … We go on these amazing runs, and then we lose it a little bit. We need to [find a way to] stay in it.”

Still, Iowa is showing promise as it continues to find an identity within the offense.

The Hawkeyes stayed strong through two dominant stretches in the match, going on a 10-1 run in the second set and a 12-4 run in the fourth set, both runs strongly contributing to the set wins. 

Iowa head coach Jim Barnes praised his team for its competitiveness. 

“I’m proud of the two sets we won because we did create some runs … We were able to finish off those two sets and showed a lot of toughness; I just wish [in] the fifth set we could have come out and played like we had in the fourth set,” Barnes said after the loss. “We’ll learn from it. That’s the whole idea through victory and defeat. We’re going to keep improving and keep learning.”

Up next

The Hawkeyes now sit at 8-5 as they transition further into Big Ten play — still a strong start for a team that has been rebuilding for the last few years.

Barnes looks to carry the momentum found during the match against Minnesota into the Hawkeyes’ next match against No. 21 Ohio State at home at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

“We knew that Minnesota was beatable; we nearly showed them that they were going to be beat, but they’re a really good team,” Barnes said. “Ohio State is a really good team, but they have a lot of holes. If we can play our game … we’ll have our shot.”

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About the Contributor
Theodore Retsinas
Theodore Retsinas, Photojournalist
Theodore Retsinas is a freshman at the University of Iowa studying Neuroscience.