AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State volleyball team earned its fourth-straight win after surviving a tough five-set match against TCU 3-2 (26-28, 25-16, 25-15, 24-26, 15-8) Saturday during Military Appreciation Day at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones improved to 15-9 on the season and, for the first time in 2014, have a winning record in Big 12 play at 7-6. The Horned Frogs are now 15-13 overall, 5-8 in conference competition.
Morgan Kuhrt led the ISU attack, finishing with one of three Cyclone double-doubles with 19 kills and a career-high 14 digs. Monique Harris finished with a pair of career-highs in her double-double with 30 assists and 14 digs, and Ciara Capezio had 10 kills and 12 digs.
Story of the Match
TCU was in control for most of the first set, building up its lead to as much as six points at 18-12. The Frogs saw the wheels come off their offense as ISU went on a 7-0 run powered by five TCU attack errors to push the Cyclones ahead 19-18. The Horned Frogs recovered from there, but a Morgan Kuhrt kill brought up the first set point for ISU. TCU fought it off and got a pair of its own that the Cyclones swatted away. A Regan McGuire kill gave TCU a third set point and that time they did put it away as Victoria Hurtt was blocked by Sarita Mikals and McGuire to give the Frogs the first 28-26.
Iowa State started the second set on a startling 10-0 via some amazing serving from Ciara Capezio. During the run, Capezio set her season-high with four aces, to give the Cyclones a big lead. ISU built its lead to as much as 22-7 before the Frogs went on a 9-1 run to narrow the gap back down to 23-18, but the Cyclones were never out of control as Hurtt put away the final kill of the set at 25-16 to even up the match.
The third set belonged to the Iowa State offense, who finished the frame with 16 kills and only two errors at a .400 hitting percentage. The Cyclone lead was 9-8, but the Cyclones sparked a 5-0 run on the back of some strong serving from Monique Harris to get ahead 14-8. Iowa State continued to control the net and the score, building up to a lead of 21-12 before TCU pulled out three consecutive points to narrow the gap again. ISU closed up shop from there, getting a kill from Mackenzie Bigbee, a TCU error and a TCU red card to bring up set point. Alexis Conaway and Capezio slammed the door on Blaire Pickens to give the third to Iowa State at 25-15.
The fourth set saw the match’s most competitive frame as neither team was able to build much of a lead through the first part of the set. TCU finally began to get some separation, opening up a three-point lead at 18-15. Iowa State battled back and eventually pulled ahead via back-to-back Hurtt kills to give the Cyclones a 23-21 edge. The Frogs fought back with a 3-0 run to force a set point. After Kuhrt held that off with a kill, she could not fight off the second as her shot went long and TCU forced a fifth at 26-24.
In its second five-setter of the week, Iowa State continued to trade blows with the Horned Frogs. Both teams saw early advantages, but the Cyclones started to pull away before the teams changed sides. ISU ran off four of five points, capped off by back-to-back Conaway kills, to pull ahead 8-5. After sides were switched, it was all Iowa State as the Cyclones won seven of the final 10 points, with Suzanne Horner running off a 4-0 to bring ISU to match-point. Bigbee misfired on the first match point, but Tory Knuth closed it out on the second to give ISU the set at 15-8.
Cyclone GameBall Goes to …
Morgan Kuhrt. The redshirt junior from Waverly continues to advance her game and her role within the squad. Her 19 kills was the second-most of her career, only surpassed by her 21 against Oklahoma at Hilton last month and her 50 attempts were the second time in her career she has taken at least 50 swings. Kuhrt recorded her second-straight double-double, her third of the season, via a career-high 14 digs. She also had a career-best five block assists.
*Iowa State is now 4-2 on the season in five-set matches, and 30-24 under head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch in five-framers.
*ISU’s eight service aces were its third-most in 2014.
*Mackenzie Bigbee finished with 14 kills, her ninth match in double figures this season and 44th of her career.
*Morgan Kuhrt’s 19 kills marked the eighth time in 2014 with at least 10 kills, the 11th of her career.
*Kuhrt posted her third career double-double with a career-best 14 digs. Her previous high for digs was 13 vs. Texas A&M in 2013.
*Kuhrt also had a career-high five block assists (previous high: four vs. Kansas State – Nov. 5)
*Alexis Conaway posted seven block assists, her 11th time this season with at least 5.0 total blocks in a match, the most since Jen Malcom’s 13 in 2008.
*Monique Harris recorded career-highs in assists (30) and digs (14).
*Victoria Hurtt finished with 12 kills, her 13th time in double-figures in 2014 and the 50th of her career.
*Ciara Capezio posted her seventh double-double of the season, the 15th of her career, with 10 kills and 12 digs.
*Capezio also posted a season-high four service aces.
Iowa State plays its final Big 12 road match of the season Wednesday at Kansas. First serve will be at 6:30 p.m.