Coming into Wednesday’s tilt with the West Virginia Mountaineers, Iowa State had a 3-2 record coming off of a loss. In its previous matchup, Iowa States’ defense didn’t play well, as it allowed the third-ranked Baylor Bears to hit .379 in a 3-0 loss.
The Cyclones needed a better defensive performance against the Mountaineers and that is what they got as they held the Mountaineers to a .140 hitting percentage, en route to sweeping the Mountaineers 3-0.
“We were reading the way their hitters were hitting very well,” redshirt sophomore middle blocker Avery Rhodes said. “Our blockers lined up on them and that makes our defense able to fill in the gaps which made them (the Mountaineers), not hit as well as they could."
The Cyclones improve to 15-8 (6-5 Big 12) and the Mountaineers fall to 11-13 (2-9 Big 12).
On the attack, freshman outside hitter Annie Hatch led the way. Hatch hit a team-high 16 kills on 32 attempts and had a .375 hitting percentage.
#9 Annie Hatch (left) and #6 Eleanor Holthaus prepare for their teams serve against South Dakota on Tuesday. Both Hatch and Holthaus have been…
“We had really good defense tonight, which led me to receive good sets so I could get kills,” Hatch said.
Even though they didn’t lose a set, the Cyclones faced a tough fight from the Mountaineers, as two out of the three sets that the Cyclones won came by a margin of three points or less.
The set that they Cyclones won by more than three points, was the third set, where they won by ten points.
Iowa State started the first set well, leading 7-4, but West Virginia rallied to take a 12-8 lead.
“[In the first set] Several different things were going wrong, sometimes it was our passing, sometimes we were making unforced errors and there were times where we couldn’t get kills,” Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said.
West Virginia went on to holds its lead for a while. However, Iowa State battled back and tied the set at 18.
“We stayed aggressive and tenacious,” Hatch said. “We never let up and we slowly got our energy up, which really helped us.”
Holding a 24-18 lead, Iowa State had set point, but West Virginia went on a 4-0 scoring run to bring the set to 24-22.
Hatch hit the set winning kill for Iowa State, as it won the first set 25-22. Hatch hit five kills and had a .320 hitting percentage in the first set.
Defensively, Iowa State was stout in the first set, holding West Virginia to a .062 hitting percentage.
In set two, the Cyclones never trailed, but the Mountaineers remained competitive, never trailing by more than five.
The Cyclones had set point four times, but the Mountaineers scored four points to trim their deficit to one. The Mountaineers had the momentum in the set despite trailing, until one crucial error was made.
Trailing 24-23, the Mountaineers’ senior outside hitter hit the ball slightly out of bounds, resulting in an attacking error.
Mountaineers head coach Reed Sunahara challenged the ruling, but the officials didn’t find enough evidence to overturn the decision and the Cyclones won the second set 25-23.
Hatch led the Cyclones in the second set with seven kills.
Set three was all Iowa State. Iowa State never trailed in the set, it won the set 25-15 and swept West Virginia 3-0.
Hatch added four more kills, which gave her a career-high in kills in a three-set match with 16.