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VOLLEYBALL: Iowa State Challenge Begins Friday

AMES, Iowa – No. 18 Iowa State (2-3, 0-0 Big 12) will host its annual Iowa State Challenge this weekend, welcoming teams from Eastern Washington, Syracuse and Iowa to Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones and Hawkeyes will play Friday night as part of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.

Before beginning its weekend hosting duties, Iowa State will open its home schedule on Wednesday night against No. 25 Northern Iowa at 6:30 p.m. CST.

The Cyclones have played Eastern Washington and Syracuse once and twice, respectively and not at all during head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch’s seven seasons at the helm of the program. The Cyclones lead the all-time series against Iowa, 23-21, including wins in the last seven meetings.

Eastern Washington is winless this season, entering their Wednesday night match at Boise State. The Eagles are strong on defense; the team is averaging 2.50 blocks per set behind Talia Fermantez who has three solo blocks, 24 block assists and a 1.17 blocks-per-set average.

Syracuse is on a three-match slid entering the weekend after opening the season 3-0. The Orange have played one Big 12 team already this season, getting swept last weekend by No. 21 Kansas State.

Returning to Hilton for the second-straight season, the Hawkeyes are 5-2 this season behind the offensive leadership of Alex Lovell, who is averaging 3.28 kills per set, and Rachael Bedell, with an average of 3.21.

Friday’s schedule begins with Iowa and Syracuse at 10 a.m., followed by Iowa State and Eastern Washington to close out the morning session at 12:30 p.m. On Friday evening, Eastern Washington takes on Syracuse at 4 p.m. before the Cyclones and Hawkeyes take the court at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s matches kick off with the Hawkeyes playing Eastern Washington at 4 p.m. and Iowa State will close out the tournament with a match against the Orange at 6:30 p.m. All times central.

Cyclone Notebook
• Iowa State hosts the Iowa State Challenge this weekend, welcoming Eastern Washington, Syracuse and Iowa to Hilton Friday Sept. 7 and Saturday Sept. 8.
• Friday night’s match with the Hawkeyes is part of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series between the two schools.
• Before hosting the weekend tournament, the Cyclones face No. 25 Northern Iowa in their home opener on Wednesday night.
• A win over Northern Iowa would be the team’s second win over a ranked opponent in the early non-conference season.
• 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.
• Three Big 12 teams are ranked in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll: #4 Texas, #18 Iowa State and #22 Kansas State.
• Bigbee has put up double-digit kill numbers in four of Iowa State’s five matches leading into Wednesday’s match with UNI.
• 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.
• 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.

Iowa State Challenge Schedule

Friday Sept. 7: Saturday Sept. 8:
Iowa vs. Syracuse, 10 a.m. Eastern Washington vs. Iowa, 4 p.m.
Iowa State vs. Eastern Washington, 12:30 p.m. Iowa State vs. Syracuse, 6:30 p.m.
Eastern Washington vs. Syracuse, 4 p.m.
Iowa State vs. Iowa, 6:30 p.m.

Scouting Eastern Washington
• Iowa State and Eastern Washington previously met at the 2002 Georgia Bulldog Classic where the Eagles won in three sets.
• This season, Eastern Washington is 0-7 heading into its Wednesday match at Boise State.
• Playing South Dakota State, a late season Cyclone opponent, senior Cora Kellerman led the Eagles with 17 kills and 13 digs. Outside hitter Shelby Puckett also had a double-double in the match, with 12 kills and 14 digs.
• Kellerman is the Eagles biggest offensive threat with 2.71 kills per set this season. Puckett is second on the team with a kills average of 2.25.
• Defense is Eastern Washington’s strong suit; the team is averaging 2.50 blocks per set behind Talia Fermantez who has three solo blocks, 24 block assists and a 1.17 blocks-per-set average.
• Kellen Barfield is close behind in blocking with four solos and 16 assists, averaging 0.95 blocks per set.
• Setter Lindsay Niemeier is averaging 10 assists per set and is second on the team with 3.38 digs per set.
• Freshman defensive specialist Ryann Ensrud is the digs leader for the Eagles with a per-set average of 3.58 and 86 total digs.

Scouting Syracuse
• The Orange are 3-3 on the season after falling in their last three matches, all in straight sets.
• Iowa State and Syracuse met twice in 1990, splitting their series.
• Syracuse has played a Big 12 opponent already this season, No. 21 Kansas State.
• Sophomore’s Nicolette Serratore and Andrea Fisher both average more than 3.00 kills per set. Serratore has an average of 3.32 and Fisher puts up 3.05 kills per set.
• Fisher, Lindsay McCabe and Emily Betteridge are the only Syracuse players to play all 22 sets for the Orange this season.
• McCabe is second on the team in blocks with a per-set average of 0.95. Samantha Hinz leads the team with 1.05 blocks per set.
• As a team, the Orange block 2.18 attacks per set, besting their opponents who have a combined blocking average of 1.77.

Scouting Iowa – Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series
• Iowa State has won each of its last seven matches with Iowa, dating back to the 2003 season.
• In Ames last year, Iowa State defeated the Hawkeyes in straight sets.
• Cyclone Jamie Straube had 10 kills to lead the squad in last season’s sweep. Alex Lovell had a team-high six kills for Iowa.
• The Hawkeyes enter the season 5-2, most recently falling to Oakland.
• Lovell is the top scorer for Iowa once again, averaging 3.28 kills per set, followed by Rachael Bedell with an average of 3.21.
• Chante’ Thompson leads the team with a .308 hitting percentage.
• In their last two matches, the Hawkeyes have combined for 21 blocks.

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