How Iowa State stacks up against Tulane for the NIVC Championship game


Senior Jess Schaben goes for the kill in the volleyball game against North Texas on Dec. 5 in Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State won 3-1 and advanced to the NIVC semifinals. 

Jack Shover

After defeating UNLV 3-1 in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship semifinal game, Iowa State has the opportunity to capture the NIVC Championship with a win versus Tulane.

Tulane and Iowa State are facing each other at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, with first serve set to happen at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

This season, Tulane has accumulated a record of 29-8 and finished in third place of the American Athletic Conference.

In comparison, Iowa State is 20-13 and finished in third place in the Big 12.

When looking at Tulane’s schedule, it is evident Tulane has yet to face a ranked opponent this season, while Iowa State has faced eight ranked opponents and knocked off two of them.

In Tulane’s semifinal game, the Green Wave beat the College of Charleston 3-1. During the game, Tulane recorded a .250 hitting percentage and had 11 blocks and also recorded seven aces.

Against UNLV, Iowa State had issues dealing with pressure from the opposition’s serve allowing the Rebels to have 11 aces in the game.

In the UNLV game, Iowa State had a hitting percentage of .238 and also had 11 blocks.

Iowa State was led by Jess Schaben, who had 24 kills and 13 digs in the game.

In terms of offensive attack, Iowa State and Tulane couldn’t differ more.

In Tulane’s case, its two best hitters are inside hitters, indicating the Green Wave will be bringing their attack from the middle of the net. In addition, Tulane’s five best hitters all have at least 250 kills with their top hitter, Lexie Douglas, having 346 kills meaning Tulane will bring a balanced offensive attack.

Iowa State, on the other hand, brings its offensive pressure from outside hitters, and the Cyclones have a top heavy offensive attack. Schaben leads all Cyclones in kills with 502 on the season with only one other hitter, Eleanor Holthaus, above 250 kills with 255.

Iowa State will look to get Schaben active as much as possible versus Tulane with Schaben’s ability to attack from the back row, allowing her to get more touches on the attack and diversify Iowa State’s attack.

This season, Schaben has 1,411 attack attempts for the Cyclones. The next highest player, Josie Herbst, has 661 attempts.

Middle blocker Grace Lazard was second on the team in kills with 295, but she is no longer with the team.

With Lazard gone, Candelaria Herrera has stepped up for the Cyclones and recorded six block assists versus UNLV on Sunday, which was the game high.

This season, Herrera has racked up 106 blocks, but she started the season as a outside hitter before switching to middle blocker during the first half of the season due to injuries at the position.

In addition, Herrera is the only true middle blocker on the team with Iowa State having to use Holthaus there when Herrera is off of the court.

Tulane has a well established middle defender in Dayna Kern who has 150 blocks on season. Against the College of Charleston, Kern was tied with teammate Makala Heidelburg for the most individual blocks in the game with six.