AMES, Iowa – Yet another dominant Jess Schaben performance, combined with a blocking revolution led Iowa State to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22) sweep of Iowa Friday night in front of a season-high 3,171 fans at Hilton Coliseum. ISU improves to 4-2 on the season, while Iowa is now 6-2. Iowa State also began the season with a 2-0 lead in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.
Six days after recording 19 kills in a sweep of Syracuse, Schaben was the star for the Cyclones again, posting 17 kills at a .324 hitting percentage. Morgan Kuhrt backed that up with nine kills at a .474 hitting clip. The ISU block, which only had 21.0 total blocks on the year heading into the match, recorded 10.0 blocks to restrict the Hawkeyes to a .154 hitting percentage.
Dominant Schaben Offsets Poor Serving for ISU
Jess Schaben came to play in the first set for the Cyclones. The sophomore from Defiance was way too much for the Hawkeyes to handle early on, as she fired six kills in her first nine swings. However, ISU was severely hampered by a poor performance behind the service line, as the Cyclones fired six service errors without an ace. The Cyclones caught the breaks late, as Schaben got her seventh kill followed by a pair of Iowa errors to bring up set point at 24-21. A long rally ensued with some strong defense on both sides, but Ciara Capezio eventually got the last laugh, firing a kill to give ISU the first 25-21.
Cyclones Rally to Take Set Two
The ISU offense stayed strong early in the second set, but the dominance with the ball started to slow as a quartet of unblocked attack errors powered a 6-0 Iowa run that put the Hawks ahead 11-7. The Cyclones were able to battle back as Alexis Conaway and Schaben teamed for a block of Meghan Buzzerio to tie it back up at 14-14. Late in the set it was Schaben, again to rise above the rest and bring the Cyclones home. Her first kill of the frame was not until ISU’s 11th point of the frame, but she still contributed six kills on the frame. A handling error on Loxley Keala brought up set point at 24-21, and ISU converted on the third try when Molly Kelly’s serve did not get over the net at 25-23.
Big Deficit Overcome to Complete Sweep
The Hawkeyes were not fazed by their 2-0 deficit, as the visitors blitzed out to a 6-2 advantage. UI got up by as many as seven points at 11-4, before the recovery act began. Branen Berta, who was moved out of the libero slot after the first set, came in and served a crucial 4-0 run to get the Cyclones back in the set. However, ISU struggled to make the next steps in closing the deficit, as ISU got it down to two on multiple occasions, but it wasn’t until Morgan Kuhrt and Grace Lazard teamed to stuffed Lauren Brobst to make it 18-17 UI. Schaben got her 16th kill the next point to things up at 18-18. Lazard won a 50-50 at the net out of an Iowa timeout to take the lead that they would not relinquish. Match point came at 24-21, and was converted on the second asking when Schaben bombed her 17th kill of the match.
*Head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch is now 10-1 all-time against Iowa. She has never lost to the Hawkeyes in Hilton Coliseum.
*The Cyclones finished with a season-high 10.0 total blocks, and also out-blocked an opponent for the first time in 2016.
*ISU posted at least 10.0 total blocks for the first time in a three-setter since last year’s sweep at Baylor (Oct. 25, 2015).
*Jess Schaben posted a match-high 17 kills, her second-straight match in double figures, third of the season and 22nd of her career.