Iowa State uses blocking, serving to get fourth Big 12 sweep


Freshmen Ciara Capezio, No. 11, gets ready to return the ball. Iowa State beat West Virginia 3-0 at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Maddy Arnold

In the first two weeks of its conference schedule, Iowa State has played five Big 12 matches. The Cyclones have won four of them in straight sets.

The ISU volleyball team (10-5, 4-1 Big 12) completed their fourth sweep of a Big 12 opponent against West Virginia (15-4, 2-3 Big 12) on Saturday. The Cyclones defeated the Mountaineers 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-18).

“I thought we were great in some areas, elite in some areas and OK in some others. I thought we served really, really well,” said ISU coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. “I liked our serving. I liked our blocking. Statistically that’s probably the best night we’ve had so far.”

Before the match against West Virginia, Iowa State held last place in the Big 12 in blocking. The Cyclones had only 77 blocks this season, almost 50 less then the next team, and averaged only 1.55 blocks per set.

During the match, West Virginia had five total team blocks while Iowa State had eight. The match was only the fourth time the Cyclones have out-blocked their opponent this season.

“The last game the coaches were really big on working on intensity, so obviously that was a big focus on tonight’s game,” said sophomore middle blocker Tory Knuth. “Consistently being aggressive is something that we still need to work on. I think it’s better; it’s improved.”

Knuth had one solo block and two block assists against the Mountaineers. She also added eight kills and two service aces during the win.

Before the match, Knuth led the Big 12 in service aces. She has 16 this season and averages almost .46 per set.

“Our middles continue to put up some really nice numbers, so we’re trying to keep them involved and they’re doing a nice job,” Johnson-Lynch said. “You’ve not seen what [Knuth] can do yet.”

Freshman outside hitter Ciara Capezio added another solo block and one block assist to the win against West Virginia. Capezio also led the offense for the Cyclones with nine kills and five service aces on the night.

Iowa State leads the Big 12 in service aces. So far this season, the Cyclones average 1.66 aces per set and had seven against the Mountaineers.

“[Aces are] probably the biggest advantages you can have minus a miss serve from the other team,” Capezio said. “I think if you have a good serve, mostly likely you’ll get an ace or get them out-of-system which helps also.”