Iowa volleyball focusing on growth as they try build a consistent, winning program

Published: Aug. 19, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) - Year two under Jim Barnes will look different than year one.

Nine of Iowa’s 18 players are new - six are freshmen, three are transfers. For Barnes, one that won’t look different is the Hawkeyes’ prioritization of process over results.

“From the second this team and I sat down that’s all we talked about,” Barnes said Saturday. “We’ve talked about the process. Doing the work, being focused on playing for each other, that’s got to mean more than the result.”

The Hawkeyes say one of the biggest keys to keeping their focus on growth is building relationships with each other. Another one is taking every match one point at a time.

“It is very east to focus on the wins and losses,” said senior setter Bailey Ortega. “But I think being in the Big Ten it’s it’s almost easier to be in the process because every single game is a challenge. Just being able to focus on the point in front of you, and the game in front of you, is what we’re trying to do here.”

Some of Iowa’s most important returners include Ortega, junior outside hitter Michelle Urquhart, and fifth-year senior Delaney McSweeney.

McSweeney stayed in Iowa City, not her hometown of Center Point, all summer.

“There’s a lot that I have to prove,” McSweeney said. “I just want to help this team and help my teammates get to the level that we need to be at, show everyone that Iowa’s a program that is going in the right direction, and is going to be a winning program.”

The Hawkeyes’ first regular season game is this Friday in Sacramento against Cal Poly. Iowa’s home opener is slated for next Friday, September 1st, at Xtream Arena.