VOLLEYBALL: Cyclones become NCAA tournament eligible with win

Matt Gubbels

The ISU volleyball team needed one more win to make it eligible for NCAA Tournament consideration and it got that victory in a big way Wednesday night.

The Cyclones (16-9, 8-6 in the Big 12) got out of the gate strong and never looked back, dominating the Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-20, 0-14) in a 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-22) sweep.

Iowa State was led by Victoria Henson and Diane Kieger with 16 and 12 kills on .429 and .625 hitting percentages, respectively. Rachel Hockaday also had seven kills. Setter Kaylee Manns had 39 assists and libero Ashley Mass had 11 digs against the team that ended her double-digit digs streak earlier in the season.

The Cyclones outhit the Red Raiders .391 to .231, partially thanks to a 31-24 advantage in digs. Iowa State had four service aces in the match, while both teams had five blocks.

Iowa State went on a 5-1 run to take the lead at 6-3 in the first set. The Cyclones, who hit a blistering .577 in the set, went on a 6-2 run to take the score from 12-9 to 18-11 and scored the last five points of the set as well, with a Kelsey Petersen solo block closing it out.

The Red Raiders took an early lead in set two at 8-5 after three kills by Amanda Sbragia. Iowa State bounced back to score the next five points on the serve of Mass, who had an ace in the run.

With the score tied at 11, the Cyclones won four straight to take a 15-11 lead, but Texas Tech fought its way back to take a 23-22 lead on a kill by Amanda Dowdy. Iowa State won the next three points to take the set, though, after a bad serve and a block and a kill from Malcom.

Iowa State fell behind 6-3 in set three, but went on a 6-0 run. Hockaday then served up five more consecutive points, one of which was a service ace.

After Texas Tech drew to within 9-8, the Cyclones won four of the next five points with two of those coming on kills from Henson. Iowa State kept its lead anywhere from two to four the rest of the set and took the match when Caroline Witte committed a service error at 24-22.

Iowa State returns home to face fourth-ranked Texas on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.