By Anna Kayser
With postseason chances slipping away, the Iowa volleyball team stumbled on Nov. 22 in Urbana/Champaign, as Illinois pulled out the brooms for a 3-0 victory in the Hawkeyes’ last midweek match of the regular season.
In the first set, the Hawkeyes battled the Illini. But with the score tied at 18, Illinois took control and allowed Iowa only a single point as it glided to a 25-19 victory.
Illinois took that momentum into the last two sets. The Illini won the second, 25-13, and the Hawkeye offense recorded a minus-.038-attack percentage. Illinois then sealed the match with a 25-12 third-set win.
“We were in a great position there in the first set, competing hard and up 18-16, but we could not regain our focus and our team intensity,” Iowa head coach Bond Shymansky said in a release. “That’s what happens on the road in the Big Ten. We preach this all the time. You have to be so tenacious, and you have to be steely about your willpower and be able to dig back in.”
Senior middle blocker Jess Janota led the Iowa offense with 11 kills and a .421 attack percentage. No other Hawkeye had more than 10 kills.
Iowa will face No. 5 Nebraska in the final match of the regular season at 7 p.m. on Nov. 25 in Lincoln.