Iowa State’s comeback bid falls short, lose to West Virginia 3-2


Iowa State talks in a team huddle in a timeout against Baylor on Oct 23, 2020.

Sam Stuve

Iowa State appeared to be defeated near the end of set three against West Virginia on Friday. West Virginia led the match two sets to none and 24-18 in set three.

All West Virginia needed was to score a point before Iowa State scored its 23rd point in the set (need to outscore the opponent by at least two points to win a set).

That didn’t happen as Iowa State tied it at 24, won the third set 27-25, then won the fourth set 25-11 to force a fifth and final set.

Iowa State couldn’t complete the comeback as West Virginia won the fifth set 15-10 and the match 3-2.

West Virginia held Iowa State to a .048 hitting percentage in the fifth set.

The Cyclones struggled on offense for most of the night, as they were held to a hitting percentage below .115 in the three sets they lost.

Junior right-side player Eleanor Holthaus led the Cyclones in kills with 12, while freshman middle blocker Alexis Engelbrecht led the Cyclones and all players in hitting percentage at .364.

West Virginia’s senior middle blocker Briana Lynch led all players with 14 kills.

As a team, West Virginia had a .117 hitting percentage, while Iowa State hit .145 for the entire night.

Coming into Friday’s match, the Iowa State volleyball team had won 17 matches in a row against the West Virginia Mountaineers.

It had only lost one match to West Virginia in program history, back on Sept. 19, 1998, by a score of 3-2.

Iowa State is now 18-2 all-time against West Virginia.

Despite losing, Iowa State nearly got things started on the right foot.

Iowa State trailed 21-20 in set one.

West Virginia dominated the end of the first set and took it 25-21.

By winning this set, West Virginia won its first set against Iowa State since Nov. 10, 2018.

Things didn’t get much better for Iowa State early in set two, as West Virginia led early in set two 7-0.

Iowa State had a hitting percentage of .000 at that point.

West Virginia didn’t let its foot off the gas and it cruised to a 25-15 win in set two.

Iowa State’s offense was completely shut down by West Virginia’s offense in the second set, hitting .000 in the set.

After trailing 24-18 in the third set, however, the Cyclones came back and a kill by Holthaus and an attacking error by West Virginia’s Lynch gave the Cyclones a 27-25 victory in set three.

Iowa State led 13-7 in set four, holding West Virginia to a -.042 hitting percentage at that point.

It cruised to a 25-11 victory in set four after holding West Virginia to a -.128 hitting percentage.

Iowa State lost the fifth set 15-10 and the match 3-2.

Match two of the series comes tomorrow at 3 p.m. at WVU Coliseum.

Saturday’s match between Iowa State (2-7) and West Virginia (6-5) is being streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.