The thrill of victory

Dan Quinnell

The ISU women’s volleyball team broke a 30-game conference losing streak Wednesday night when it upset the Sooners of Oklahoma three games to one.

The Cyclones started quickly by winning the first two games, and Coach Linda Crum said it gave the team momentum for the rest of the match.

“We came out strong in game one, but really in game two Oklahoma took the lead late and had the momentum,” Crum said. “I was really proud of our kids for not just letting that moment go, but just keep plugging away.”

The Sooners came out after the break and took game three.

After jumping out to a quick lead in game four the Cyclones used the confidence and momentum of the first two wins to carry them to the match win. Crum said she was proud of how her women played, and she hopes they can build off the win.

“I told the girls congratulations and that I was proud of them,” Crum said. “I don’t think we had our best match in terms of looking at the stats, but regardless of what the stats show, they won it, and that’s a huge step.”

Many of the women on the Cyclone roster have never experienced a Big 12 win, and Crum thinks that even if they can’t beat teams like Nebraska, they can use a win over Oklahoma as a measuring stick.

“I think the teams that are more at our level we need to come out to play and beat,” Freshman Brittany Dalager said.

Scoring off long rallies was a big part of the Cyclones’ victory, and sophomore Steph Suntken said long rallies can give a team momentum.

“A big part of volleyball is to gain momentum, and the last rally in game one helped us going into game two,” she said.

The Cyclones played with emotion throughout the match and fed off the aggressiveness of sophomore Julie Mitchell. In game two, Mitchell had two important blocks leading to the win, which got the other players excited.

“Knowing that you can handle another team is very exciting,” Mitchell said. “It’s the best feeling ever.”

Mitchell was the floor leader when it came to motivating her teammates with big kill after big kill.

“Someone getting a great dig can motivate a team or a huge kill can also motivate,” Mitchell said. “That’s what I try to create, and that’s what motivates.”