AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State volleyball team closed out the regular season with a 3-0 sweep (26-24, 25-17, 25-15) of Baylor Saturday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum. The win improved ISU to 18-9 overall and 10-6 in the Big 12 as the Cyclones finished tied for second in the league with Kansas and Oklahoma. Kansas State can join the trio at 10-6 with a win over West Virginia later tonight. Baylor finishes the season at 14-17 overall, 4-12 in the Big 12.
The Cyclones finished second in their conference for the fifth time in program history. Four of those have come under Christy Johnson-Lynch. ISU has finished in the top-half of the Big 12 now on seven consecutive occasions.
Ciara Capezio led ISU with 11 kills at a .409 hitting percentage while Alexis Conaway posted 10 kills at a .769 hitting percentage. Caitlin Nolan led the defense with 19 digs.
Story of the Match
The Bears enjoyed an early lead of 10-6, but the Cyclones battled back with kills from all over the court, including kills from Capezio, Conaway, Victoria Hurtt and Morgan Kuhrt to tie it at 12-12. The Cyclones continued to pull ahead with a 19-16 advantage, but Baylor fought back with a 6-0 run, which included a pair of kills for Katie Staiger, to make it 22-19 BU. The Bears got the first set points at 24-22, but a Tory Knuth kill and a Staiger hitting error tied it back up. Mackenzie Bigbee got a kill to give ISU set point, which Conaway closed out with her third kill of the set to give it to ISU at 26-24.
The second saw Baylor get out to an early lead again, but the Cyclones put together a quick 3-0 to move ahead 7-5 and not relinquish the advantage. The big separation came with the Cyclones ahead 14-12, as ISU posted a 5-0 run to move ahead 19-12. The Cyclones controlled proceedings the rest of the way as Capezio recorded her first of three service aces on the night to take the set at 25-17.
It was more of the same in the third set as Baylor pulled out to an early at 9-6. The Cyclones then exploded behind strong serving from Monique Harris and Capezio as they put together an 11-2 run to pull ahead 17-11. Baylor closed the deficit to 20-15, but Capezio and the Cyclones again slammed the door as ISU posted the last five points, three via Capezio kills, to win the set 25-15 and the match in a sweep.
Cyclone Game Ball Goes to…
Alexis Conaway. An astonishing offensive performance for the freshman from Orange City as Conaway posted 10 kills at a .769 hitting percentage. She contributed in many areas, including posting a service ace and three block assists.
Honorable mention to Ciara Capezio, who led ISU with 11 kills and posted one of her best hitting performances of the season with a .409 hitting percentage.
*Iowa State finished 10-6 in Big 12 competition, its ninth-straight season with at least 10 conference wins.
*ISU finished tied for second in the Big 12, its fifth second-place conference finish in program history.
*Alexis Conaway recorded 10 kills, her ninth time this season with at least 10 kills.
*Caitlin Nolan finished with 19 digs, her 25th time with at least 10 this season, and 16th match in a row.
*Ciara Capezio finished with 11 kills, her team-high 14th time with at least 10 kills and 29th of her career.
*Maria Fruechte made her Iowa State debut.
Iowa State awaits its NCAA Volleyball Championship, which will be revealed tomorrow during the NCAA Volleyball Championship Selection Show. The show will air at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Iowa State fans are invited to join the team’s watch party tomorrow night at Johnny’s inside Hilton Coliseum.