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 drops seventh-straight Big Ten game with loss to No. 13 Penn State

The Hawkeyes lost in straight 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 was swept by No. 13 Penn State in straight sets on Friday, the defeat extending the Hawkeyes’ winless streak in Big Ten play to seven.

Iowa fourth-year hitter Delaney McSweeney logged six kills for the match. First-year hitter Nataly Moravec tallied six kills as well as nine digs, and fourth-year setter Bailey Ortega finished the match with one kill, two digs, and 14 assists as the main facilitator — but the Hawkeye offense could not hang on.

The Hawkeyes held an early lead of 3-1, thanks to the Nittany Lions’ costly service errors and precise kills orchestrated by McSweeney and assisted by Ortega. 

Despite this promising start, Penn State quickly gained momentum and went on a long offensive run. The Nittany Lions ultimately claimed the first set, 25-14.

“We started slow because we couldn’t pass the ball,” Iowa head coach Jim Barnes said. “If you don’t pass, you’ve got no chance in this game. Against a good team, you better pass great, but we didn’t do the job.”

In the second set, Penn State seized the lead with the opening point, but Iowa fifth-year outside hitter Caitlan Buettner swiftly responded to even the score at one. 

The Nittany Lions gained all of the momentum on their way to take a 20-12 lead. But in a mid-set surge, Iowa managed to score six consecutive points, narrowing the score to 20-18. 

Despite Iowa’s run, Penn State responded with a 5-0 run of its own to close out the set, 25-18.

Penn State continued to assert its dominance on the court, taking an 11-4 lead early into the third set. 

Midway through the set, the Hawkeyes capitalized on a handful of Penn State errors, with Ortega making a pivotal impact by tallying back-to-back aces. 

However, the Hawkeyes were unable to cut the lead as the Nittany Lions closed the set, 25-14, and completed the sweep.

Up next

Looking ahead, the Hawkeyes aim to bounce back from the defeat as they prepare to host Michigan State on Saturday at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, with the match scheduled for 6 p.m. 

This contest offers the Black and Gold an opportunity to secure its first victory in Big Ten play — something Barnes has already alerted the team to look forward to.

“We got to get in here and get to work,” he said. “It’s a quick turnaround because we got them tomorrow night, so it’s an opportunity to win. [The Spartans are] still playing really well.”

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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.