ISU Volleyball team sweeps Panthers

Travis Cordes

CEDAR FALLS – Despite being surrounded by a sea of purple at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls on Wednesday night, the ISU volleyball team put together one of the best performances of its young season with a 3-0 (30-23, 32-30, 30-36) sweep of Northern Iowa.

The crowd of 5,124 was the largest to ever see two in-state Iowa volleyball teams compete, but the Cyclones had no intention of succumbing to Northern Iowa’s home court advantage.

“This building is a great environment for college volleyball,” said coach Christy Johnson. “It’s compact and can get very loud, but we didn’t let it get to us tonight.”

The Cyclones (3-4) still found trouble on the offensive side of the ball in their first match ever in the McLeod Center, but were able to ride a solid defensive performance to a convincing win.

“We stayed aggressive all night and were able to chase a lot of balls down,” said junior Jen Malcom. “We were blocked a lot, but didn’t give up on them and still won a lot of tight points at the net.”

Malcom had nine kills in the match, and led the Cyclones at the net with four block assists and one solo block.

Iowa State was outblocked 16-8 by the Panthers, but a scrappy defense set a team record for digs in a three-game match with 83. Sophomore setter Kaylee Manns led the team in digs with 23, and added 39 set assists to register her second double-double of the season.

The Cyclones took control of the first two games in a hurry, staking a 10-1 lead in the first and 4-1 lead in the second. They never trailed in the first two games, and found themselves tied with the Panthers just three times.

“We have a lot more confidence in ourselves than we did a week ago,” said senior Erin Boeve. “After getting more games under our belt we know what we’re capable of, and we really came to play tonight.”

As the ninth of her 11 kills hit the floor, Boeve became just the seventh player in ISU history to reach 1,000 kills in a career.

The Panthers came out of intermission with no intentions of being swept, and ran wire-to-wire with the Cyclones in a game three that featured 13 ties and six lead changes. After a 24-24 tie, Iowa State won six of the last eight points of the match, and ended the game with three consecutive kills by junior Mary Bisenius.

“Our fundamentals got it done for us tonight,” Johnson said. “Our serving, passing and defense has really improved. It’s not glamorous or an exciting thing to talk about, but you can’t forget about how important those components are.”

Lauren Cummings led all players with 17 kills, just two shy of her career best, which came last year in a five-game loss to San Diego.