AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State volleyball team won a pair of matches Friday at the Iowa State Challenge in Hilton Coliseum. The No. 18 Cyclones (5-3, 0-0 Big 12) defeated both Eastern Washington (0-9, 0-0 Big Sky) and Iowa (6-3, 0-0 Big Ten) on the first day of the tournament.
Junior middle blocker Tenisha Matlock posted a career-high 20 kills against the Hawkeyes and ended the day with a team-high .340 average of the two-match stretch, averaging 3.25 kills per set. Matlock also led the team in blocks, with two solo blocks and nine block assists.
It was all Cyclones in the afternoon match, sweeping the Eagles (25-10, 25-15, 25-15). Rachel Hockaday paced Iowa State with 10 kills. Tory Knuth, in her first career start, added a career-high eight kills and hit .467. Freshmen Jenelle Hudson and Bria Rasmussen earned action for the first time this season.
Iowa State hit over .300 in a match for the first time this season, in their sweep of the Eagles, blasting a .370 average, and on defense the Cyclones collected a season-high nine blocks in the match while shutting down Eastern Washington’s offense, which never reach positive offensive numbers, ending the match with a -.035 hitting percentage.
It was more of the same early against Iowa as the Cyclones jumped out to an early 2-0 match lead, helped by .414 hitting in the second set, spreading the ball around with no player going to intermission with more than Victoria Hurtt and Matlock’s eight kills each.
The Cyclones got off to a slow start in set three, going down 1-6 before going on a 10-5 run to tie the set at 11-11. Iowa State took the lead at 14-13 but it was back and forth from there, with Iowa eventually winning the set 33-31 in the longest set Iowa State has played since 2009. Iowa was led in the set by Alex Lovell with 7 kills.
The Hawkeyes took another hotly contested set in the fourth, with both teams struggling on offense; the Cyclones hit .068 in the set, while Iowa hit .176.
Four Cyclones had at least two kills in the fifth and final set, as Iowa State spread the ball around to take the match on the 15-9 set win. The Cyclones hit at a .381 clip in the set.
On Saturday, the Cyclones close out the weekend tournament against Syracuse at 6:30 p.m. after Iowa and Eastern Washington square off at 4 p.m. Both times central.