CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Iowa State freshman Mackenzie Bigbee exploded for 25 kills, tying a Cyclone freshman record, on Saturday as No. 15 Iowa State (2-3, 0-0 Big 12) came back to beat No. 19 Illinois (2-3, 0-0 Big Ten) in a dogfight five-set match (26-28, 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 15-10).
With a 14-10 lead in the deciding set, Bigbee smashed her final kill of the match to tie the program freshman record and conclude a .409 hitting clinic at Huff Hall. Jamie Straube and Victoria Hurtt collected 13 kills each for the Cyclones and Tenisha Matlock led the squad with four block assists.
Iowa State setter Alison Landwehr contributed 59 assists in the team effort and Kristen Hahn led the team with 21 digs, just ahead of Rachel Hockaday’s 17 digs and 10 from Landwehr in her 27th career double-double performance.
Liz McMahon led the pack of four Illini with double-digit kills with 16 on the night. Morganne Criswell and Jocelynn Birks grabbed 11 kills each and Anna Dorn had 10. It was the Illinois defense that kept Iowa State on its toes throughout the match as the Illini posted 14 blocks to the Cyclones’ six. Dorn was solid at the net with a solo block and seven assists.
Iowa State fought off five set points in the opening game to tie the score, 24-24 but was unable to hold on, finally falling on a kill from setter Annie Luhrsen. The Cyclones’ offense hit .366 in the first game after the team hit under .200 in each of Friday’s three sets. McMahon led the scoring with five kills; Bigbee and Hockaday each had four.
Iowa State was strong in set two, going on a 10-2 and building a 17-6 lead. The Illini got back in rhythm, coming within four at 22-18 but the Cyclones held firm and Hurtt tied up the match at one set apiece with her seventh kill of the day.
After the Cyclones jumped out to a 5-1 lead in set three, Illinois fought back and the teams were as close as 23-21 in favor of Iowa State before the Cyclones were able to put away the win, despite hitting just .194 in the set.
Illinois tied the match, 2-2, with .314 hitting in the fourth set and grabbed six blocks, led by a Dorn solo block and four assists.
The Cyclones open their home season on Wednesday night, hosting Northern Iowa at 6:30 p.m. CST at Hilton Coliseum.