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 volleyball falls to 0-2 in Big Ten play with loss to Ohio State

The Buckeyes swept the Hawkeyes at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Sunday. Iowa players and coaches emphasized the importance of closing out sets.
Isabella Tisdale
Delaney McSweeney and Kaia Mateo celebrate after a point during the Iowa vs. Minnesota volleyball game at Xtream Arena on Sept. 21, 2023. The Gophers won, 3-2.

The Iowa volleyball team fell to No. 21 Ohio State, 3-0,  on Sunday for the Hawkeyes’ second straight loss. 

The Buckeyes outlasted the Hawkeyes in two close sets — 25-22 in the first and  26-24 in the second. Iowa couldn’t find any sort of momentum in the third set, falling 25-14. 

Iowa middle hitter and Wake Forest transfer Delaney McSweeney led the charge on offense with 11 kills. Iowa outside hitter Michelle Urquhart chimed in with three kills, 14 digs, and two assists, with fellow outside hitter and Texas State transfer Caitlan Buettner following up with seven kills and 12 digs. Setter Bailey Ortega also made her mark on the match, finishing with five digs and 15 assists. 

The Hawkeyes find themselves in a 0-2 hole in Big Ten play after going 8-4 through four preseason tournaments. Despite this, their record does not fully indicate how the team has played so far this season. 

Iowa assistant coach Brian Yale believes the Hawkeyes will overcome their struggles to finish close sets. 

“It’s really just confidence. It’s understanding that it’s okay to be in those positions. We’ve earned that position to be ahead and be up late in sets,” Yale said. “We’ve just got to continue that and complete that. We’ve got to lock that door. We’ve got to push it closed and lock it and not wait for them to close it on themselves.”

As a veteran, McSweeney acknowledges the level of consistency needed to close out sets has to improve. 

“One thing we’ve talked about a lot is consistency and just having that edge like our competitors have. We know we have the skills to execute at a high level in the conference,” McSweeney said. “It’s about putting it together consistently and being a competitor for the entire match because two sets doesn’t win matches of three.” 

Matches like this can be deflating to a team’s confidence. But Yale believes the Hawkeyes won’t let the two straight losses get into their heads.

“We’ve got a choice to make right now, to understand that we’re that close [to being 2-0 in Big Ten play],” Yale said. “We can be in the mix of the middle of the Big Ten right now and that’s our goal. We’re the ones limiting ourselves from that right now. There’s a lot of parody going on in the league right now. When we have opportunities like today, and even Thursday [against Minnesota], we’ve got to own it and take advantage of it.” 

Iowa will travel to Indiana for its next match on Friday at Wilkinson Hall in Bloomington. As an unranked Big Ten opponent, the Hoosiers will provide a different look for the Hawkeyes than what they’ve seen thus far. 

“I think [Indiana is] as good of a team as we’ve played so far. There’s a chance they could be ranked here in the near future,” Yale said. “There are no nights off in the Big Ten, and we know that it’s really on our shoulders to take care of it ourselves.”

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About the Contributors
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.