Cyclones fall to DePaul in five sets to open weekend series against Blue Demons


Members of the Iowa State volleyball celebrate shortly after scoring a point in its Sept. 26, 2020 match against Kansas State. Kansas State won the match 3-1.Photo Courtesy of Sophie Osborn/Collegian Media Group

Adarsh Tamma

It was a competitive, back-and-forth kind of match for the Iowa State volleyball team on Friday, who took on DePaul at the McGrath-Phillips Arena for their first of two matches between this pair of teams. The Blue Demons ultimately won out in five tight sets, winning by a score of 25-23, 20-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-9. They are now have a 0.500 winning percentage at 5-5, while the Cyclones are now at 6-11 on the year overall, as well as 1-2 during the spring season.

The Cyclones returned to court for the first time in nearly two weeks after having previously traveled to Milwaukee during the last weekend in February, when they went 1-1 against Saint Louis and Marquette. Friday’s match was also the first to go to five sets for Iowa State since Nov. 21, 2020, when they defeated TCU at Hilton Coliseum 3-2 in the last match of the fall season.

It was an offensive battle against the Blue Demons for Iowa State, as both teams kept feeding to their hitters for big kills and traded the lead multiple times. Despite the loss, the Cyclones had a higher hitting percentage than DePaul, with a team of average of 0.227 compared to the Blue Demons’ 0.191. Both teams also had the same amount of kills at 60 apiece, while DePaul just out-passed the Cyclones with 58 assists compared to Iowa State’s 57.

For Iowa State, the offensive side of the ball was led by three front row players in juniors Avery Rhodes and Eleanor Holthaus and sophomore Kenzie Mantz. The trio combined for two-thirds of the Cyclones’ kills, knotting 40 in total with both Rhodes and Holthaus having 14, while Mantz had 12. Senior Piper Mauck also had a strong performance, providing a team-leading 52 assists for the Cyclones as well as 14 digs on the defensive end.

The first set was the beginning of a match of runs for both teams, as Iowa State jumped out to a 9-6 lead off of a perfect start by Mantz, recording three kills on her first three attempts, and would finish the match with a hitting percentage of 0.321. DePaul then capitalized on Iowa State’s mistakes, scoring five points off of attack errors by the Cyclones and at one point was tied at 16 apiece. Iowa State extended their lead to 19-17 on a kill by freshman Abby Greiman, but the Blue Demons went on a 8-4 run on kills by senior Avarie Evans-Allen and sopomore Bailey Nelson, and they won the first set 25-23.

The second set was another close encounter, with Iowa State again building a lead at 4-0. Attack errors continued to hurt the Cyclones’ chances to extend this lead however, as DePaul quickly got back in the match on three kills by freshman Jill Pressly and two attack errors by Mantz to tie things back up seven all. The Cyclones boosted their lead at 14-13, when sophomore Kate Shannon served four consecutive times and aced twice to give Iowa State an 18-13 lead. From there, the duo of Rhodes and Mantz continued their offensive outputs, recording three kills as the Cyclones pulled away with the second set 25-20.

The third set continued the theme of competitive play, as the Cyclones built a 10-6 lead off an attack error Bailey Nelson, but DePaul’s front line answered back with a run of their own thanks to kills by Pressly and freshman Rachel Krasowski to pull them back into set at 15-15. Down the stretch, both teams exchanged the lead six times over the final ten points. Iowa State had two kills by sophomore Annie Hatch and an ace by junior libero Taylor Baranski to take the lead at 20-19, but quickly lost it due to errors on both the service and offense by Mauck and Rhodes respectively. With the score again tied at 24 all, the Cyclones lost an opportunity to secure the set with another pair of errors by Holthaus and Grieman and a kill by junior transfer Allison Dennemann, and DePaul won out 26-24.

The fourth set, like the second, was another offensive display by the Cyclones, with Piper Mauck again setting up Iowa State’s attackers of Grieman, Mantz and Rhodes for big kills. The Cyclones got out to a 15-11 lead, and continued to apply the pressure on the Blue Demons by producing big points down the stretch, and eventually took the fourth set 25-20 on a kill by Grieman.

The fifth and final set was one of runs produced by DePaul, who got off to a fast 7-2 start as Iowa State used up both of their timeouts early. The Blue Demons never looked back from there, ultimately hitting 0.375 as a team and pullling away with a 15-9 win to take the set and match on two kills by Avarie Evans-Allen.

Iowa State and DePaul will be back for a rematch at the McGrath-Phillips Arena in Chicago tomorrow at 4 p.m. The match will once again be livestreamed on DePaul’s website, along with live stats.