The Iowa State Cyclones headed to Lawrence, Kansas, to face the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday and hoped to earn a sweep against Kansas this season.
However, the Jayhawks made a late comeback thanks to solid hitting to win the match 3-2, despite being outhit by the Cyclones.
Jayhawks win final three sets
Iowa State won the first set 25-14 in convincing fashion and came back in the second set, after trailing 20-15 in the second set to win the set 25-23.
However, Kansas won the third and fourth set by a combined score of 51-46 while out hitting Iowa State .281 to .255.
This set up the winner-take-all fifth set.
Iowa State had been in this situation before earlier in the season at Iowa, where Iowa forced a fifth set after trailing 2-0. Iowa State held on to win that match 3-2, but things would not be the same for Iowa State this time around.
The Cyclones had control of the set, leading the set 12-9. However, the Jayhawks scored off of four kills, one service ace and a blocking error by the Cyclones to win the fifth set 15-12 and the match 3-2.
Iowa State fell to 17-10 (8-7 Big 12) and Kansas improved to 9-16 (5-10 Big 12).
Wednesday was the first time this season that the Cyclones led a match 2-0 and then lost the match. What led Kansas to making the comeback was its sold hitting.
Kansas' offense kept it in the match
In Wednesday’s match, Kansas hit .255 against Iowa State. Coming into Wednesday’s game, Kansas had only been hitting .179 for the season, which is the worst hitting percentage in Big 12 — and Iowa State had only allowing their opponents to hit .198 on average.
Leading the way for the Jayhawks offensively in terms of kills were two players — redshirt senior outside hitter Ashley Smith and freshman outside hitter Morgan Christon.
Smith earned a team-high 20 kills on 45 attempts and hit .311 on Wednesday. Christon came off the bench to hit 19 kills and hit .267 on Wednesday.
Another Jayhawk that had a great night was sophomore outside hitter/setter Camryn Ellis who had a triple-double for the Jayhawks. Ellis hit 11 kills, dished out ten assists and dug 12 balls.
While the Cyclones didn’t make the defensive stops they needed to beat the Jayhawks, they had a solid hitting night.
Iowa State’s offense cools down
Coming into Wednesday’s match against Kansas, Iowa State averaged a .240 hitting percentage per match, which is third out of nine in the Big 12.
Iowa State’s hitting was much better than its .240 average, in the first set. The first set was the Cyclones' best hitting period as they hit a stifling .591 while winning the set 25-14.
After hitting .591 in the first set, the Cyclones hit a combined .256 in the final four sets and .293 for the entire match.
The Cyclones outhit the Jayhawks .293 to .255.
While Iowa State hit tremendously as a whole, three Cyclones had efficient performances that made them stand out from the others.
Junior middle blocker Candelaria Herrera, senior outside hitter Josie Herbst and freshman outside hitter Annie Hatch all earned double-digit kills and hit above .300.
Herrera hit a team-high 18 kills to go along with a team-high .395 hitting percentage, Herbst hit 11 kills while hitting .385 and hatch hit 11 kills while hitting .318.
Junior setter Piper Mauck and freshman Libero Michal Schuler also had a solid night. Mauck earned another double-double with 58 assists and 13 digs, while Schuler hit 16 kills.
Iowa State plays its final regular-season game of the year against the third-ranked Texas Longhorns at 4 p.m. on Saturday.