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 sophomore outside hitter Nataly Moravec looks to write a new script for herself

The BYU transfer bypassed family tradition with intentions of helping Iowa volleyball become a top program
No. 1, Nataly Moravec jumps to hit the ball while being covered by her team, through Ohio States block at the Xtreme Arena in Coralville on Sept 24. 2023.

While following family tradition is always the ideal option, second-year Nataly Moravec decided she wanted to write her own story.

The outside hitter was raised in Weston, Connecticut, by her parents, Roman and Sheena. Moravec’s volleyball roots have been present her whole life as her mother played collegiate volleyball at BYU-Hawaii. 

Moravec started playing volleyball around 7 years old. After being disinterested in the sport before playing, she quickly fell in love and possessed natural talent. 

She attended Hopkins, a private high school in New Haven, Connecticut. The Hopkins volleyball program was never seen as a contender for state championships. Moravec went in with the mentality of changing the narrative. 

“We had never won any championships … I went there with the mentality of ‘I want to bring this program up. I want to give whatever I have to help this program and build it up,’” Moravec said. “And so we started from winning four games to winning two championships … For us that was unheard of.”

She has an accomplished high school resume, including 2019 New Haven Register All-Area player, 2021 AVCA Girls High School All-America First Team honors, and 2021 Under Armour All-American Selection Camp Nominee. She was also awarded Hopkins School Female Athlete of the Year in 2022. 

Related: Iowa cross country senior distance runners Amber Aesoph, Brooke McKee, Abby Ryon reflect on team bond, consider fifth year of eligibility.

Not only did Moravec become one of the best volleyball players in the nation, but she also became one of the best student-athletes in the country. She was nominated an AAU Academic All-American in 2020-21. 

“[School work can be] a lot, but I think just staying consistent with it and planning everything out … You really have to stay on top of it,” Moravec said. “Just staying ahead and being diligent … I went to a rigorous high school, so I think that transferred over into college.”

During her senior year of high school, Moravec committed to BYU. The family was familiar with the university as both her mom and her aunt attended the school. After redshirting her freshman year at BYU, Moravec felt she needed a change. 

Moravec entered her name in the transfer portal and can recall the moment she knew the University of Iowa was the place for her. 

“[Iowa volleyball and I] got on a Zoom call and it felt so right. I’ve never felt more sure I was supposed to be here. All the coaches were on the Zoom call and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m at a place where I feel loved,’” Moravec said. “I came here on campus for an official visit, and it just clicked. I love these people. I love this atmosphere. I love what Jim is trying to do building the program up. I love the girls, so it just felt right”

The love she presents is received right back to her. Iowa senior setter Bailey Ortega expresses how much she loves having Moravec as a teammate.

“I could talk about Nataly all day. She’s one of my favorite people to have on the court with me and one of my favorite people to talk to off the court,” Ortega said. “Even if she doesn’t feel like she is, she’s a great leader for us. We can always trust her in tight moments … I think she’ll really continue to take this program up like we all wanted to.”

The sophomore has played in 49 of Iowa’s 50 sets this season and amassed 129 kills, 52 digs, and 16 blocks.

Moravec hopes to help build Iowa volleyball the same way she helped build the volleyball program at Hopkins High School.

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About the Contributor
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.