Cyclones shift momentum, reverse sweep West Virginia


Lee Chinyama

Iowa State freshman Maya Duckworth talks to Jaden Newsome in the team’s comeback win against West Virginia on Oct. 12.

Iowa State’s reverse sweep of West Virginia came down to the match’s final point.

Iowa State fell behind 2-0 to the Mountaineers on Wednesday night but was able to turn the tide and avoid losing its first Big 12 match at Hilton Coliseum.

“I thought we were really tough and really resilient there at the end,” head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “That’s no surprise; they [the Cyclones] have done that all season.”

Back-to-back kills in the final set from Eleanor Holthaus secured Iowa State’s fourth reverse sweep win of the season. Iowa State avoided match point twice in the final set as the team secured its tenth win of the season and third of the Big 12 schedule.

Maya Duckworth, the Big 12’s most recent rookie of the week, helped Iowa State turn the tide with a major third set.

Duckworth was fresh off five service aces and 3.5 points per set in Iowa State’s recent win against Kansas and was named the Big 12 rookie of the week for the second time of the season on Tuesday.

In Wednesday’s match, Duckworth produced six kills in the third set on seven swings. She led her team with nine kills while adding nine digs at the end of the third set. The Cyclones were able to win the third 25-10 and change the momentum of the match.

“As the match gets more competitive, tighter and more critical, she [Duckworth] seems to come on,” Johnson-Lynch said. “It’s like she lives for that.”

Duckworth, a true-freshman, finished with a team-high 14 kills and 10 digs. It was Duckworth’s second double-double of her collegiate career.

West Virginia entered Wednesday’s match with Iowa State having lost nine consecutive sets against Big 12 competition. The Mountaineers had lost in straight sets to Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma and were 0-5 in Big 12 play.

The Mountaineer squad, however, took the floor at Hilton Coliseum with momentum. West Virginia won the first two sets of the match 28-26 and 25-14.

The lead changed hands three times and the team’s tied nine times in the first set as attack errors held back the Iowa State offense.

“They really forced us to be uncomfortable,” Johnson-Lynch said.

In the first, Iowa State made 14 kills but committed 11 attack errors. Holthaus made two kills but committed four errors in the teams’ first set.

Holthaus entered the match tied for fifth on the Iowa State all-time kills leaderboard. With her first kill in Wednesday’s match, Holthaus moved into sole possession of fifth on the all-time list.

In the second, Iowa State made seven more attack errors including four service errors. At the end of the second, Iowa State had 18 attack errors on 103 swings for a hitting percentage of .019.

After the momentum shifted in the third set, Iowa State committed 11 errors in the final three sets. The Cyclone offense came together and finished the match as the more efficient team with a hitting percentage of .128.

Iowa State also received 11 kills from junior Solei Thomas and a career high in digs from libero Brooke Stonestreet.