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Volleyball: Iowa State completes season sweep of Oklahoma, 3-1

logo_iowa_state_cyclonesAMES, Iowa – Iowa State took a while to get its offense clicking, but was eventually able to pull away from Oklahoma 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-15, 25-23) Saturday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum. The win improves ISU to 14-7 overall, 7-3 in Big 12 play. OU falls to 8-13 on the season and 2-7 in conference action.

Alexis Conaway and Monique Harris both stuffed the stat sheets in the win. Conaway tied a career high with 17 kills at a .593 hitting percentage, two aces, a career-best nine digs and six blocks. Harris had 54 assists, 13 digs, four service aces and a career-best four blocks. Caitlin Nolan had 27 digs, while Morgan Kuhrt had 13 kills at a .323 hitting percentage for ISU.

Blocking Allows Iowa State to Take First Set
Oklahoma were the early leaders in the first set, but Iowa State made sure the Sooners were never further ahead than three points. At 9-6 OU, the Cyclones made its first move of the set with a 4-0 run powered by a pair of Monique Harris aces. It was Harris’ second ace, which was originally called out but reversed on a coach’s challenge, which put ISU ahead for the first time at 10-9.

The two sides played out an even remainder of the set, with neither team building an advantage of more than two points. At 21-21, ISU got ahead for good with a kill by Morgan Kuhrt and a block from Alexis Conaway and Harris putting ISU ahead 23-21. Iowa State clinched the set when the Cyclones used a triple block of Conaway, Harris and Jess Schaben stuffed Kimmy Gardiner to claim the first 25-22.

Sooners Comeback Earns OU Set Two Win
Iowa State got out to a big advantage in the second, as strong serving from Harris, Conaway and Ciara Capezio allowed the Cyclones to get out to a 13-7 lead. Oklahoma was able to bounce back, as the strong serving of former Cyclone walk-on Rachel Manriquez gave the Sooners a 4-0 run to reduce the ISU lead to 13-11 in the second.

Both offenses struggled in the set, making a comeback difficult for Oklahoma. Conaway got a kill to make it 21-18 ISU, but the Sooners made their move after that, running off four of the next five points to tie the set up at 22-22 on a Schaben shot that was wide of the mark. The Sooners went on to claim the next three points, with Manriquez again causing havoc for Iowa State from behind the service line. It was her second ace of the afternoon that gave the Sooners set two 25-22.

Offense Clicks in Third Set Victory
Though Iowa State got the lead at 4-3 on a Madison Ward attacking error and did not give it up for the rest of the set, it took a while for Iowa State to pull away from the Sooners. Both teams were strong offensively in the early proceedings, with Morgan Kuhrt standing out for the Cyclones. ISU made its move with the score 14-12 in favor of ISU. The Cyclones went on a 5-1 run, capped by Harris’ fourth ace of the afternoon, to get ahead 19-13.

Oklahoma tried to hang on, but the Cyclone offense continued to click, as Iowa State committed just one attacking error en route to hitting .410 for the frame. The Cyclones prevented OU from springing any runs by recording a sideout percentage of 93 percent. ISU brought up set point on a Conaway kill and got it on a Capezio kill at 25-15.

Iowa State Battles Back to Take Fourth Set, Match
Similar to the second set, Iowa State was able to break away from Oklahoma a little in the middle of the frame. Tory Knuth came off the bench to give ISU a spark of three kills and a pair of blocks to help Iowa State race out to a 15-9 advantage. OU would not go away, and it was the 2014 Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, Kierra Holst, who stepped up to power the Sooner attack. Combining with Ward, the duo assembled a 7-1 run capped off by a Ward kill to tie things back up at 16-16.

Iowa State was able to pull back ahead briefly, with the attack and blocking of Conaway playing the key role to get ahead 20-17. However, OU went on a 4-0 run capped with a Madison Drescher kill to get ahead 21-20, its first lead of the set. It would only last one point, and at 23-23 Samara West came back in for Knuth to fire her ninth kill to bring up match point, which was taken by Capezio via a tool of the block for the kill and the set at 25-23.

Cyclone Notes
*Iowa State beat Oklahoma for the fifth-straight time, the Cyclones’ longest winning streak against the Sooners.

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