Following a straight-set victory over St. Thomas Friday night, the Iowa State Cyclones were back in action Saturday night against the 11th ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota came into the match with a record of 4-3, with their three losses coming against top ranked Texas, fifth ranked Florida and tenth ranked Baylor.
The Cyclones got out to an 11-5 lead early in the first set with Alexis Engelbrecht picking up three kills. The Golden Gophers responded with a 5-0 run that forced an Iowa State timeout. Following the timeout, Minnesota turned their run into an 8-1 run to make the score 13-12, but two straight errors put Iowa State back on top. After the score got knotted up at 15, a 3-0 run by Minnesota forced another Iowa State timeout.
Following some back and forth, Minnesota ended the set on a 5-0 run. With help from two service aces by Melani Shaffmaster, the Golden Gophers took the set by a score of 25-17.
The Cyclones were only able to muster a .111 hitting percentage in the set, while allowing a .270 percentage. Eleanor Holthaus and Engelbrecht led the team offensively with three kills each, while Jaden Newsome contributed ten assists. Defensively, Brooke Andersen and Marija Popovic each tallied four digs.
The second set started out very tightly contested, with Iowa State working to a 12-10 lead and their defense picking up four points off of blocks. Minnesota responded with a 4-0 run to make the score 14-12 and force the Cyclones to take a timeout. Iowa State responded with a 5-1 run to make the score 17-15, but the Golden Gophers rattled off a 5-0 run to reclaim the lead and force another Iowa State timeout. Minnesota would go on to take the set by a score of 25-19.
Both squads played a very messy second set, with each team committing 11 errors. The Golden Gophers only hit at a .125 clip, but the Cyclones were in negative territory with a hitting percentage of -.042. Holthaus led the Cyclones offensively in the set with three kills and Newsome had six assists. Engelbrecht, Holthaus, and Candelaria Herrera each had two blocks, and Popovic led the team with seven digs.
Minnesota got off to a hot start in the third set, starting out with a 5-0 lead. Iowa State battled the rest of the set, eventually trimming the deficit to one while trailing 15-14.
The Cyclones would go on to trail by one several more times before the Golden Gophers forced an Iowa State timeout after going up 20-17. Following the timeout, Minnesota would go on to claim the set by a score of 25-20 and defeat Iowa State in straight sets.
It was a rough night offensively for the Cyclones, as they only managed a hitting percentage of .072 while allowing a .219 hitting percentage. Holthaus led Iowa State offensively with eight kills, with Herrera contributing seven and Kenzie Mantz contributing six. Newsome assisted on 27 points, and Popovic led the team in digs with 14.
Iowa State finished 1-1 at the Diet Coke Classic, and they move to 8-3 overall. They will kick off Big 12 play next weekend at Hilton Coliseum against the TCU Horned Frogs.