Iowa outside hitter Taylor Louis reacts to a call during an Iowa/Purdue volleyball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

V-ball gets must-win, but loses 3 of 4

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The Hawkeyes finished off their season on the road against two top Big Ten teams.

By Anna Kayser

anna-kayser@uiowa.edu

The Iowa volleyball team went 1-of-3 on its road trip to end the regular season over the break.

On Nov. 25, still smarting from the football team’s debacle, No. 5 Nebraska swept Iowa. The Hawkeyes were flat in the first two sets. In the first, the Huskers jumped out to an early lead and never faltered, taking the set, 25-12. Iowa battled more in the second set, taking an early 4-2 lead. Nebraska went on to tie the set at 7 before scoring 3-straight points to go on to win the set, 25-15.

Iowa turned things around in the break. The third set featured 13 ties and seven lead changes. The Hawkeyes were 2 points away from taking a set from the Huskers for the first time in 30 years before giving up the lead. With the score 23-23, Iowa didn’t score again and lost the third set, 25-23.

The Iowa offense had 12 kills in the first two sets combined and 13 kills in the third. Junior outside hitter Taylor Louis led the team with 14.

“I thought that third set was a really great comeback,” Hawkeye head coach Bond Shymansky said in a release. “It showed a lot of guts for us to not just go away but to fight all the way to the end of that match. That’s what Hawkeyes do.”

Finishing matches has been a problem during the entire Hawkeye season, and that didn’t change in the final week of the regular season.

On Nov. 22, Iowa tried to avenge its 3-2 loss to Illinois earlier in the season. However, a lack in system and intensity led to an Illini sweep.

In the first set, Iowa was up 18-16, but the team’s focus dropped and never recovered. Illinois went on a 9-1 run to easily take the first set.

Once the Hawkeyes lost intensity and focus, the Illini took advantage and ran away with the set. The Hawkeyes only scored 25 points in the final two sets combined.

RELATED: Volleyball falls flat in battle with Illinois

Iowa knew going into the four-game road trip that to have a chance of making the NCAA Tournament, it would have to walk away with at least one win.

After losing a tight four-set match to Maryland on Nov. 17 to start the road trip, Iowa traveled to Ohio State.

Less than a week before, Iowa had swept Ohio State in Carver-Hawkeye, and the Hawkeyes knew that the Buckeyes would look to battle.

The first set featured 17 ties and five lead changes. Three-straight Hawkeye points gave them the lead late, and Iowa finished out the set strong with a 25-23 win.

The second set mirrored the first, with 16 ties and eight lead changes. With Iowa down, 23-22, a kill by junior right-side Reghan Coyle and a block by Louis and senior middle blocker Jess Janota gave Iowa the advantage and ultimately the win.

Iowa jumped out to an early lead in the third set and never trailed. The Hawkeyes led by as much as 9 before going on to win the set, 25-18, and sweeping the match.

“I know our team is doing everything we can do put ourselves in a position to get into the NCAA Tournament,” Shymansky said in a release. “We know we are going to have to win on the road in the tournament, so now we sit and wait.”

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