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McLeod Center atmosphere helps UNI volleyball outlast Iowa State in five

Panthers' win includes marathon 40-38 second set on $1 ticket night

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Josh Betts, correspondent

CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa defeated Iowa State in a five-game, three-plus hour thriller, 27-29, 40-38, 25-23, 17-25, 15-10, in front of an announced crowd of 5,240.

When it comes to in-state rivalries, no matter the sport, they are typically known for great atmospheres and close competition. The all-time series between UNI and and Iowa State is certainly no exception to that. Coming into Tuesday night’s match, the Cyclones held a narrow 27-26 edge in the all-time series.

“I know our fans got us some points tonight,” senior Amie Held said regarding the atmosphere in the McLeod Center. “That’s all we can ask for from them.”

One dollar tickets were offered to fans for this match, something that Steve Schofield, UNI’s deputy athletics director for external operations, said the athletics department hoped would create a similar atmosphere to the West Gym for Tuesday’s match. The West Gym is where UNI volleyball matches were played prior to the construction of McLeod Center.

“There wasn’t an empty seat in the house for volleyball over there. It was just a raucous environment, and certainly was one of the most intimidating places for anybody in the country to come in and have to play,” Schofield said of the West Gym’s volleyball environment.

“When we have a big in-state rival like Iowa State coming to our campus, we want to try to re-create that type of environment and just give our kids and program the best possible opportunity to win, and creating that environment certainly can potentially help them do that,” Schofield explained.

Schofield says the idea for the $1 ticket promotion for Tuesday’s match is something that was an idea brought forward from within the volleyball program itself.

“The whole idea is to try to create just a great home court advantage for our student-athletes, and at a dollar price point, it’s hard for anybody to say that they can’t afford to come to an event like that,” he said.

Amie Held led the Panthers with a double-double, 23 kills and 22 digs, and Piper Thomas added 14 kills. For Held, it was her fifth straight match with a double-double. For the Cyclones, Jess Schaben led the way with 22 kills and 22 digs, while Ciara Capezio added 15 kills, 20 digs, and 4 blocks.

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