The Cyclones are 2-3 against ranked opponents this season, with victories against No. 19 Illinois and No. 25 Northern Iowa. The squad’s only previous win over Nebraska was back in 2009 in Lincoln, when Nebraska held the No. 5 ranking.
After a tough loss five-set loss to Syracuse to close out last weekend’s Iowa State Challenge, Iowa State will have to regroup and refocus to overthrow the undefeated Huskers, who stole the No. 1 ranking from UCLA after beating the Bruins in five sets last month. Nebraska’s only other match against a top-25 team was a 3-1 win over No. 19 Kentucky last Saturday.
Key for the Cyclones on Saturday will be the defensive play of both the back row, including libero Kristen Hahn, who currently ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 4.43 digs per set, and Iowa State’s front row blockers, who are being out-blocked 2.39-1.57 per set this season. Junior Tenisha Matlock leads Iowa State with 31 total blocks this season, including seven solo blocks.
Freshman right side Mackenzie Bigbee continues to impress, collecting her second 20-plus kill performance of her debut season against the Orange last Saturday. Bigbee ranks in the top-10 in the Big 12 in both kills (3.34) and points (3.57) per set.
On offense, Nebraska will look to team kills leaders Gina Mancuso (3.48), Morgan Broekhuis (3.26) and Hannah Werth (3.26) to get past the Iowa State defense while Meghan Haggerty and Broekhuis protect the net, both players averaging better than 1.00 blocks per set this season.
Due to Iowa State’s football game against Western Illinois on Saturday night, Cyclone volleyball season ticket holders & mobility-impaired patrons may park in lots C1, C2, B1 or B2 using their parking pass. All other fans should park on campus and take the free Cyride bus service (orange route), which drops off near Hilton Coliseum (See links at Cyclones.com).
Saturday’s match between the Cyclones and Huskers is slated for a 1 p.m. CDT first serve.