MADISON, Wisconsin – The Iowa State volleyball team continued its 2015 season Thursday night with a 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 25-20) sweep of Miami (FL) at the UW Field House. The win improves the Cyclones to 19-10 on the season, which will continue Friday night at 8 p.m. against the winner of the match between No. 10 Wisconsin and Oregon.
Jess Schaben marked her NCAA Volleyball Championship debut in style with 16 kills at a .389 hitting percentage. Caitlin Nolan recorded 17 digs, and the Big 12-leading service attack of Iowa State recorded eight service aces.
Cyclone Stars Guide ISU to First Set Win
While the Iowa State offense was not at its peak in the early portions of the first set, the Hurricanes were unable to take advantage. Many of Miami’s struggles were due to hitting the ball at Caitlin Nolan. The 2015 Big 12 Libero of the Year was in fine form, racking up eight digs in the first frame. The Cyclones were ahead 12-8 before UM racked up four-in-a-row to tie it back up at 12-12. The Cyclones got back in control with a 4-0 run benefitted from a pair of Miami errors to make it 16-12 ISU.
The scrappy Hurricanes were tough to put away, as the Cyclones kept ahead, but were not able to get the big run to pull comfortably ahead, as Miami recovered to hit .179 for the set compared to ISU’s .289. Iowa State brought up set point on Jess Schaben’s sixth kill of the set at 24-21, and converted on the first try when Branen Berta got her second ace of the set to make it 25-21.
Iowa State Comes Back to Take Second Set
The start of the second set was constant back-and-forth, as the two teams ended up tied nine times in the first 20 points of the set. The Hurricanes were finally able to get some breathing room with a 4-0 run to pull ahead 14-10. The Cyclones slowly chipped away at the Miami advantage, and things were back to even at 17-17 when Monique Harris fired an ace.
However, the momentum would shift back to Miami, as the Canes got two in a row to move back ahead 19-17. The next challenge for ISU came to tying the set again, as ISU and Miami exchanged points to keep the Hurricanes ahead. Alexis Conaway finally got the breakthrough for ISU, with her back-to-back kills tying things back up at 21-21. The sophomore middle made it three-in-a-row to get ISU back ahead 22-21, and Morgan Kuhrt followed that with an ace to make it 23-21 Cyclones. The Hurricanes responded with three in a row to bring up set point at 24-23, which ISU was able to hold off on a Schaben tip kill. It was the local product, Ciara Capezio, who brought ISU home with back-to-back kills to give Iowa State the second at 26-24.
Mid-Set Run Helps ISU Complete Sweep
Iowa State was first on the board in the third and got off to a good start, as the Cyclones utilized all of its offensive weapons early on in the third set. However, the Hurricane defense, their block in particular, arrived as they blocked their way back into the set and ahead at 11-10. The advantage was short lived as ISU tied it the next point and got ahead 12-11 when Samara West won a 50-50 at the net. Iowa State found its groove, as the Cyclones scored seven of the next eight points after they fell behind at 11-10 to get ahead 17-12.
White the biggest Iowa State’s lead would get in the third set was three points, the Hurricanes were only able to get back within three on a couple of occasions. The Iowa State offense continued to produce, and was supported by a serving effort that included four aces in the third set. Iowa State brought up match point at 24-18 on a Harris ace. After a pair of Hurricane points, the Cyclones closed it out on a big kill by West to claim the match in a sweep.
*Iowa State is now 16-10 all-time in NCAA Volleyball Championship matches, including 10-2 in First Round matches.
*Caitlin Nolan finished with 17 digs, her 76th career match with at least 10 digs.
*Nolan’s 76 matches in double figures for digs is tied with Katie Churm for the fifth-most in school history.
*Nolan now has 84 career digs in NCAA Championship matches, the fifth-most in ISU history.
*Jess Schaben finished with 16 kills, her 19th match of 2015 with at least 10 kills.
*Schaben’s 16 kills are the most kills in a three-set, rally scoring era NCAA Tournament match. The most is 21 by Kirstin Hugdahl in 1995 at Notre Dame.
Iowa State will play the winner of the match between No. 10 Wisconsin and Oregon, which is ongoing at press time. The match will be at 8 p.m. inside the UW Field House.