MARION - As the prep volleyball season nears the midway point, Cedar Rapids Xavier identified a vital ingredient if the Saints are to retain their No. 1 ranking in Class 4A.
Now is the time to turn up the defense.
The top-ranked Saints s ... »
AMES — The momentum had swung Iowa State’s way. The Cyclone volleyball team had shrugged off an error-laden third set and put away Northern Iowa easily in the fourth.
But it was like the fourth set never happened to the unranked Panthers.
UNI killed off its third ranked foe of the season Tuesday, upending No. 19 Iowa State in five sets at Hilton Coliseum. The Panthers won sets, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 17-25, 15-11.
“It was tough in the fourth set, because we had some pretty easy plays that we gave up,” UNI Coach Bobbi Petersen said. “We had some errors that we don’t like and that snowballed a bit.
“(But) one of the biggest emphasis with our team and in the sport of volleyball is that you have to really concentrate one point at a time. The game’s over, now we have to move on to game five.”
The Panthers never trailed in the fifth set. The teams were tied at 3-3 before UNI ran off four straight points fueled by two kills by junior Piper Thomas. Iowa State closed to within 11-10, but a kill by Thomas and block by junior Bri Weber keyed a 3-0 run. Weber’s kill ended the match.
“It (was) a clean slate, a clean start,” said Weber, who had 14 kills, 13 digs and two blocks. “It’s whoever wants to battle in the fifth game.”
The teams played a five-set match for the fourth time in the last five years.
“We said at the start of the fifth set that it wouldn’t be an Iowa State match unless we didn’t go to five sets,” UNI senior Heather Hook said. Hook had a game-high 43 assists. The Panthers had 52 as a team.
“We love playing five sets against anybody,” said Thomas, a former Jesup prep who had a game-high 17 kills.
Iowa State (7-1) suffered its first loss. Cyclone Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said the Cyclones are still adjusting to their 6-2 rotation and the stats showed — once again — a struggle to attack. The Cyclones had 92 digs, but suffered 35 attack errors.
A lot of the credit went to UNI, according to Iowa State senior Samara West.
“UNI has a great team. They are very scrappy and that can become very frustrating,” West said. “Balls you think are down and they’re like, ‘No, I got it up.’”
Junior Jess Schaben had 12 kills and 18 digs for Iowa State. Junior Grace Lazard also had 12 kills. The Cyclones had a season-high 62 kills and a season-high 35 attack errors.