Following a 2-1 weekend at the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament, the 6-2 Cyclones had a quick turnaround with a mid-week match against the in-state rival Northern Iowa Panthers. The Panthers came into the match with a record of 4-5.
The Panthers got off to a quick start in the first set, with three Cyclone errors helping them to a 5-0 lead. After an Iowa State timeout, the Cyclones responded with a 7-1 run to force a Northern Iowa timeout. From that point on, the teams battled back and forth all the way to a 16-16 tie. Following a balanced attack and a big block by Kenzie Mantz and Candelaria Herrera, Iowa State was able to grab a 21-18 lead. With help from three more kills by Mantz, they would go on to take the set 25-20.
Despite only hitting at a .189 clip, the Cyclones held the Panthers to a measly .028 hitting percentage in the set. Mantz led the Cyclones attack with seven kills, while Jaden Newsome contributed nine assists. Newsome also tied Marija Popovic for the team lead in digs with five.
The second set started out very tightly contested, with the Panthers being up 4-3 early. Iowa State would go on a 4-0 run to make it 7-4, forcing a Northern Iowa timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Cyclones extended the run to 7-0 after two errors by the Panthers’ attack and a kill by Herrera.
This would force another Northern Iowa timeout, and once again it would have no effect on Iowa State’s momentum. The 7-0 run grew to 13-0 before Northern Iowa finally secured a point, making the score 16-5. Yet another big run would win the set for the Cyclones, as they ended the set on a 9-4 run to win it 25-9. Eleanor Holthaus and Herrera closed the set out for Iowa State, each recording two kills and then combining for a block on the match point.
Holthaus led the attack in the second set with six kills, while Herrera recroded five. Newsome contributed 13 more assists, and Holthaus led defensively with four digs. The team suffocated the Panthers’ attack, allowing a -.037 hitting percentage in the set, while hitting at a .609 percentage. Iowa State also committed zero attacking errors, compared to Northern Iowa’s nine.
The Panthers started out hot in the third set, getting out to a 10-4 lead. The Cyclones responded with a 3-0 run of their own to cut their deficit to three. It was a battle from that point on, as multiple runs by both teams brought the score to 22 all. Kills by Holthaus and Brooke Andersen which were followed by a bad set for Northern Iowa would end the set with a 25-22 Iowa State win.
Iowa State’s defense came through once again, holding the Panthers to a .152 hitting percentage in the third set and a .064 overall percentage. Holthaus led the attack with 13 kills in the match, with Mantz also in double figures at 12. Newsome assisted on 34 points, and Popovic led the team with 11 digs. Herrera was superb in the blocking game with six, while Andersen and Alexis Engelbrecht each had four.
The Cyclones improve to 7-2 on the season. They will be back in action this weekend at the Diet Coke Classic, as they will face off against St. Thomas on Friday and the 11th ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday.