The volleyball team has had a tough run since we last met. Back-to-back losses to unranked Northwestern and Maryland have dampened their post-season chances. To jump back onto the bubble, the Hawkeyes probably need an upset over the final eight games, and can’t afford to lose another match to an unranked opponent.
The Big Ten traditionally gets 8-9 teams into the tournament and Iowa is currently 10th in the conference. Four of the Hawkeyes last eight matches should be victories (Rutgers, Michigan State, Maryland, and Ohio State), two matches are most likely losses (Penn State and Nebraska), and that leaves the two important matches at Indiana and at Purdue. They need to split those matches and that would leave them at 9-11 in conference and a probable berth.
Iowa hosts their next three matches starting with Rutgers on Friday evening followed up with #7 Penn State on Saturday night and then #8 Nebraska the following Wednesday. Win either of those last two and the past week will be forgotten. For informational purposes and to show the dominance of the conference, the Big Ten has seven teams ranked in the current top 14.
Big congrats to sophomore setter Brie Orr on another impressive milestone.— Iowa Volleyball (@IowaVolleyball) October 21, 2018
On her 19th assist of the match, Orr becomes the 9th #Hawkeye in program history to reach 2,000 career assists! pic.twitter.com/Zg07LlLvIe
Honestly I’m not the most knowledgeable person on the idiosyncrasies of the sport but I can discuss how well the Hawkeyes are doing and hopefully spark a little discussion below from those of you that know more about the sport.
Anyway, flipping through the channels last weekend I came upon Iowa playing Penn State in field hockey. After the loss to the football team, I cheered hard for the #8 ranked Hawkeyes to defeat the #6 ranked Nittany Lions. Unlike their gridiron counterparts, Iowa prevailed 3-2. This was actually a game in the Big Ten Tournament so with the win the Hawkeyes advanced and Penn State got knocked out. Iowa moves on to play the freshly #7 ranked Michigan Wolverines in the semifinals on Friday in Evanston. Iowa lost to Michigan earlier in the year 2-1 so they will be looking to avenge that loss and advance further in the tourney. The winner between Iowa and Michigan will take on the winner of Maryland/Ohio State for the championship on Sunday.
Iowa is 13-5 and 4-4 in conference. And like volleyball, the Big Ten is one of the dominant conferences for field hockey. In addition to the three teams already mentioned, #2 Maryland, #11 Rutgers, #19 Ohio State, and #23 Northwestern all crack the rankings.