Cyclones host No.2 Nebraska

Cyclones host No.2 Nebraska

Shing Kai Chan

Cyclones host No.2 Nebraska

Matt Gubbels

ISU volleyball freshman Kelsey Petersen’s first start did not come in the easiest of situations.

Petersen started her first match Wednesday when the Cyclones played at third-ranked Texas, which had not lost at home in 18 tries, coming into the match.

“Starting out not playing the entire time then coming out against Texas was really intimidating,” Petersen said. “When I got on the court, it wasn’t that bad, and everyone made me feel comfortable.”

Petersen had seven kills in the match, including four in the first set, and hit .250 on 16 attacks, while also teaming up with Jen Malcom to block Texas’s All-American outside hitter Juliann Faucette twice in the match.

“I would have been so nervous, and I’m sure she was,” said setter Kaylee Manns. “Kelsey’s a gamer, and she played like she had been playing the entire season.”

Balance helps jump start Cyclone offense

The Longhorns were ranked fifth in the nation in blocking, coming into the match, but Iowa State was able to hold them nearly a block under their average Wednesday.

That was partially because of an offense that had no players in double figures in kills, but five players who had at least seven.

“We have to be prepared to spread the ball around a little bit,” said coach Christy Johnson. “This year we’re not as able necessarily to have hitters that can go up against two blockers all night and be successful, but what we can do is keep it quick.”

The offense faces another stiff test Saturday when they face Nebraska, which is second in the conference in blocking and first in opponent’s hitting percentage in conference matches. They are also No. 22 in the nation in blocking.

“We need everybody hitting the best they can and playing as hard as they can,” Manns said. “It’s going to be really important, especially because they have a really good block, too.”

Cram the Coliseum

Last season, when the Huskers came to Ames, Iowa State set a record for the most people to watch a college volleyball match in the state of Iowa. The Cyclones are trying to break that record again.

Johnson said last season’s match was the culmination of the program and its growing fan base.

“Our first year, when we are seeing four and five hundred people a night, to see almost 7,000 people at a match, it just showed how much our program has grown,” Johnson said. “It was really special to have a crowd like that.”

The Cyclones played in front of a crowd of 6,705, against the second-ranked Huskers at Hilton Coliseum. The Huskers, who won 3-0 in both of last season’s meetings, once again come in at No. 2 in the nation.

Tickets to this match are $1, and fans are encouraged to wear their gold attire as well.

“We think it is going to be a lot better [match] this year,” Manns said. “It was the greatest atmosphere and everyone was rooting for each other because they just have a general knowledge for the game.”