Volleyball takes Heritage Classic crown

Emily Arthur

The ISU volleyball team took a big step in bringing respectability back to the program by capturing its own ISU Heritage Classic over the weekend.

The Cyclones took matches over Western Illinois, 3-0, and Drake, 3-1, bringing their season record to 2-0. The two win total matches that of the Cyclone team a year ago that went 2-27.

In Friday’s action against Western Illinois, Iowa State used a thrilling game one victory to set the tone for the rest of the match.

Iowa State held a 24-16 advantage (using the rally-scoring system) in game one before Western Illinois was able to battle back to tie the score at 28. The Cyclones ended the game with two straight points gaining the win, 30-28.

“It was close there in game one,” head coach Linda Crum said. “I think we had some points were we could of taken control, but we were never very consistent … It was the first match … You saw the jitters.”

As nervous as Iowa State looked in game one, the Cyclones dominated in games two and three.

Building off the close game one win, Iowa State rolled to a 30-18 victory in both games two and three for the 3-0 win.

Junior Mandi Harms led the attack for the Cyclones totaling 12 kills while freshman newcomer Brittany Dalager added nine. Junior setter Sara Stribe recorded 33 assists in the win.

Going into Saturday night’s matchup, Iowa State looked to avenge last season’s close five-set loss to Drake.

Game one proved to be close throughout with the Cyclones coming away with a 30-25 win. Harms did most of the damage for Iowa State in the first set totaling seven kills and at times looking unstoppable.

Crum had rave words for the junior afterwards and said that as Harms gains more confidence, she’ll be the type of player that can shine every night.

“I think that’s where she has the potential to be, Crum said. “It’s partly just Mandi getting confidence in herself, and as the season grows, those are the kind of expectations I have.”

Momentum proved to be on Iowa State’s side in game two as the Cyclones continued to look strong on their way to a 30-18 victory, however, Drake was determined to avoid the sweep in game three gaining the win, 30-24.

The Cyclones gained momentum in game four scoring ten straight points to close out the match, 30-19.

Harms again led a balanced attack for the Cyclones recording 17 kills while sophomore Steph Suntken added 15 and Dalager 10. Stribe contributed another strong performance with 47 assists in the win.

For their performances, Harms, Suntken and Stribe earned places on the All-tournament team as well as proud words from their coach.

“They all had great performances,” Crum said. “Sara Stribe did a great job all weekend just being consistent and very steady … Mandi Harms proved to be more consistent as the match wore on … and then with Steph Sunkten, everyday we see Steph in the gym, consistent, steady, always performing, and I think you really saw who she is as a player come out this weekend.”

Despite the wins, Harms said that the weekend was especially important for one reason.

“It’s given us a lot confidence coming out here, especially beating Western Illinois in three and beating Drake,” Harms said. “It’s going to be great confidence for us going into the next tournament. We’re really looking forward to it.”