Delaney McSweeney: The Pivotal Force for Iowa’s Ascent in Women’s Volleyball

Women’s Volleyball

The previous season posed considerable challenges for Iowa, concluding at the 13th position in the esteemed Big Ten women’s volleyball conference. Now, as they prepare intensively for the 2023 season, their aspirations are lofty, with a goal to elevate themselves in the rankings. They are channeling their energies and focus to overcome past hurdles and achieve notable advancements in the upcoming matches.

The Barnes’ Strategy

Taking charge for the second year, Head Coach Jim Barnes is shaping a game plan that could transform Iowa’s standing. His blueprint for success is built around strengthening the middle blocker position. And at the heart of this plan is the powerhouse player, senior Delaney McSweeney.

Barnes envisions a team that can exert dominance from the middle, challenging opponents both defensively and offensively. The idea is simple: put the other team on the back foot, force them to adopt a predictable strategy and capitalize on their discomfort.

Coach Barnes elucidates: 

The essence of our approach is to conquer from the middle. Our setters are trained with a different mindset: set as much as they can, even from distant positions. Delaney, with her passion for the game, has embraced this, showcasing improvements that have exceeded our expectations. We’re eagerly awaiting her performance this year.

McSweeney’s Journey and Growth

Hailing from Iowa, McSweeney made her homecoming last season, transitioning from Wake Forest. In her inaugural stint with the Hawkeyes, she was an instant sensation. With a staggering 195 kills, she secured the third position and clinched second with 46 blocks.

McSweeney’s 2023 statistics are already hinting at her monumental rise

  • Kills: Progressed from 195 to 126 in just two conference matches.
  • Blocks: Jumped from 46 to 43.
  • Kills per set: Elevated from 1.91 to an impressive 2.38.
  • Blocks per set: Boosted from 0.45 to a commendable 0.81.
iowa volleyball state

An Insight into Delaney’s Goals and Vision

Delaney McSweeney isn’t just about the numbers, she’s passionate about honing her skills.

This season is about refinement. I’ve been investing time, especially on my blocking abilities. I’ve identified it as my key area of development. Additionally, syncing with Bailey Ortega (setter) has been rewarding. Her consistent feeds have been invigorating.

Despite her standout performances, marked by 19 kills and 2 blocks in the initial conference matches, Iowa encountered setbacks against the formidable opponents, namely Minnesota and Ohio State. These challenges were accentuated even in the face of remarkable individual contributions, highlighting the intense level of competition and the relentless pursuit of excellence by every team involved. The episodes against such strong contenders have underscored the need for consistent effort and strategic refinement to navigate the path ahead effectively.

Upcoming Matches: An Overview

As the Hawkeyes look to rebound and establish their mark, they have a challenging week ahead:

  • Vs. Indiana: Slated for Friday, this match promises to be a gripping encounter.
  • Vs. Illinois: Scheduled on Saturday at 18:00 local time.

The last season was laden with trials for Iowa, as they finished 13th in the prestigious Big Ten women’s volleyball conference. As preparations are underway for the impending 2023 season, the team has elevated their ambitions, targeting a significant rise in the rankings. They are poised to transform past challenges into fuel for upcoming victories, setting their sights on achieving greater heights and making notable progress in the subsequent matches.

General Sport Observer Marc Defaou
reviewed by: Marc Defaou (Sport Expert)

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