UNI will be the last of Iowa State’s five-straight matches against top-25 teams. The Cyclones most recently defeated No. 19 Illinois in Champaign, Ill. in a five-set match, a win secured by freshman Mackenzie Bigbee’s 25th kill of the contest. Bigbee’s 25th kill tied the Iowa State freshman record for kills in a match. The Williamsburg, Iowa native leads Iowa State’s offense this season with a hitting mark of .319 and 4.00 kills per set.
Playing at UNI last season, the Cyclones fell in straight sets to the Panthers. UNI looks much the same in 2012, returning four of its starters but losing its starting setter and libero. Key returners for UNI are Shelby Kintzel and Krista DeGeest, both of whom are averaging more than 1.00 block per set in the early season. Kintzel posted three solo blocks and four block assists against the Cyclones a year ago and DeGeest added four block assists as well.
Cyclone senior Jamie Straube is coming off her best offensive performance this season after hitting .379 (13-2-29) against the Illini in Iowa State’s come-from-behind win. Straube also contributed four aces in the match. Fellow senior Alison Landwehr achieved her first double-double of the season in the match, collecting 59 assists and 10 digs.
Libero Kristen Hahn dug a season-high 21 balls on Saturday, the junior’s 17th 20+-dig in two seasons as Iowa State’s starting libero.
Prior to Wednesday’s match, the Cyclones will drop a banner honoring last season’s NCAA Elite Eight team. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. CST.
• Iowa State comes home to Hilton Coliseum for the first time this season on Wednesday, hosting No. 23 Northern Iowa. The Cyclones will drop their NCAA Elite Eight banner prior to Wednesday’s contest.
• Saturday’s comeback win at No. 19 Illinois is the first win over a ranked opponent this season; the Cyclones have defeated at least one top-25 foe in each of Christy Johnson-Lynch’s eight seasons as Iowa State head coach.
• Saturday was the Cyclones’ ninth five-set win over a top-25 team in program history.
• Iowa State is the only Big 12 team to play three five-set matches already this season. Oklahoma has played two.
• The Cyclones have never played three five-set matches in the first five matches of the season before 2012.
• Freshman Mackenzie Bigbee continues to tear through the competition, tying an Iowa State freshman record with 25 kills against the Illini on Saturday and posting 26.5 points.
• Freshman right side Mackenzie Bigbee debuted with 37 total kills over the three-match stretch, posting double-digit kill numbers in each match. Her 25 kills is the most by a Big 12 player this season.
• Bigbee has put up double-digit kill numbers in four of Iowa State’s five matches.
• Jamie Straube tied a career high with four aces on Saturday in Iowa State’s victory.
• With 21 digs on Saturday, Kristen Hahn has 17 20+ dig matches in two seasons as the Cyclones’ starting libero. She has collected at least 10 digs in her last 15 matches, dating back to 2011.
• The other Cyclone freshman to boast 25 kills in a match was Melissa Duffield, who had 25 against Kansas in 1998.
• Alison Landwehr picked up the 27th double-double of her career on Saturday with 59 assists and 10 digs.
• Saturday’s win was Iowa State’s first match of the season in which the team out-dug its opponent. The Cyclones have won the dig war in 74 percent of their matches under Johnson-Lynch.
Streaks and Trends
• Iowa State opponents have hit over .300 just 16 times in 228 matches under Johnson-Lynch.
• Iowa State went 14-3 in three set matches in 2011 and are 1-1 in 2012. Under Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State is 90-33 in three set matches.
• Behind Johnson-Lynch’s leadership, the Cyclones win 87% (122-18) of their matches when earning the first set victory.
• Iowa State has collected 20 wins in five-consecutive seasons under head coach Johnson-Lynch. The Cyclones have had 11 20+ win seasons since 1982.
• Under Johnson-Lynch, the Cyclones have won at least one match over a top 25 opponent in each of her eight seasons and have defeated at least two top 25 teams in each of the last five seasons. Saturday’s win at No. 19 Illinois was the first win over a ranked opponent for the Cyclones this season.
Scouting No. 23 Northern Iowa
• Northern Iowa leads the all-time series, 26-23, including a 3-0 sweep of the Cyclones last season.
• UNI is 4-2 this season with losses to top-25 teams Purdue and USC.
• The Panther’s return 10 of their players from last season’s 33-2 team, including four starters.
• Amy Braun and Megan Lehman lead the squad averaging 3.16 and 3.11 kills per set, respectively.
• Setter Molly Turk is averaging 11.11 assists through her first six matches as UNI’s starting setter.
• The Panthers are stout on defense, led by Shelby Kintzel’s 1.26 blocks per set and Krista DeGeest’s 1.16 average.
• The duo combined for three solo blocks (all Kintzel) and eight block assists, four each, against the Cyclones last season.
• Playing at No. 5 USC last weekend, the Panthers hit just .109, losing in straight sets.
• Earlier in the day, the Panthers downed Boston College in four sets. Kintzel led a trio of Panthers with double-digit kills with 15. Lehman added 12 kills and Braun had 11.