Friday’s match in the Cyclone Invitational started off well for Iowa State as they came out and had a 15-9 lead midway through set one against the sixth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions.
However, things only went downhill from there as not only did the Cyclones drop set one 25-22, but the Nittany Lions 3-0 swept them at Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State got off to a hot start in set one, jumping out to an 8-2 lead thanks to a few kills and a few errors by Penn State.
The Cyclones held a 15-9 lead in set one, but the Nittany Lions came roaring back, scoring five points in a row to make the score 15-14.
Penn State tied the set at 20-20 and then took the lead after a serving error by Iowa State’s outside hitter senior Josie Herbst.
The match was tied at 22 when Penn State got two kills and scored off an attacking error by sophomore outside hitter Eleanor Holthaus led Penn State to take set one 25-22.
“At the end of the first set we got a little bit timid and we got down on ourselves,” Holthaus said.
Set two was all Nittany Lions as after they trailed 1-0, they took the lead and never looked back, winning set two 25-16.
The Nittany Lions were dominant in set two as their largest lead that they held in set two was a 12 point lead, despite only hitting .188.
Iowa State continued to not hit the ball well in the second set as they had a hitting percentage of .062.
“What I think we need to do more of going forward is hitting high,” redshirt middle blocker Avery Rhodes said. “Sometimes it’s best not to avoid the block but us it.”
For Penn State, it was more of the same in set three as they never trailed in the set and won the set 25-16.
In the third set the Cyclones continued to struggle hitting wise as they had a .059 hitting percentage.
“Penn State knew where the ball was going and we hit into their two-person block,” Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “They didn’t block us much, but they touched it, you saw the ball go off their block, high, they controlled it and then they ran something back at us fast. It kept kinda feeling like that was the story.”
Iowa State suffers its first home loss of the season and falls 2-2 and Penn State improves to 4-0.
The Cyclones finished the match with a .126 hitting percentage and the Nittany Lions had .326 hitting percentage.
To go along with the poor hitting percentage, the Cyclones had 19 attacking errors.
Iowa State will finish the Cyclone Invitational with a match against the Louisiana State (LSU) Tigers at noon on Sunday.
“We just have to reset and move on,” Holthaus said. “Obviously, we didn’t compete to the best of our ability tonight and things didn’t go our way, but that’s something that we have to be able to let go.”