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High-flying offense leads Cyclones to win over TCU

Jacob Rice
The Iowa State volleyball team huddles together after gaining a point against the Drake Bulldogs at the Cyclone Invitational, Hilton Coliseum, Sept. 16, 2023.

The Cyclones traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, for the first of two matches against TCU. Iowa State won a tight, competitive match in five sets (25-23, 26-28, 23-25, 25-18, 15-13).

Heading into this game, Iowa State had lost its previous three road matches. This win not only snapped that streak, but put the Cyclones back at a winning Big 12 record (7-6).

Here are the three biggest takeaways from match one:

Failed comebacks from both sides

Out of the gate in set one, Iowa State shot out to a 5-0 lead that included three kills and an ace. TCU would not go away quietly, fighting back to tie the opening set at nine.

Once tied, both teams traded points throughout the rest of the opening set. There were eight ties in set one with TCU taking its first lead late at 22-21.

Sophomore Maya Duckworth took over after TCU took the lead. Following a quick timeout, Iowa State outscored TCU 4-1 to win the set, courtesy of four kills from Duckworth.

In set two, the mentality of the Cyclones never waivered after starting down 9-2. At this point, TCU was on a 6-0 run and looked to run away.

But something changed. A switch was flipped for Iowa State, and the Cyclones used a 4-0 run and a 5-0 run to tie the match at 11.

The run would be halted momentarily by a TCU timeout but would continue until Iowa State had a 13-11 lead. These runs changed the momentum to Iowa State, but it did not hold.

In what felt like deja vu, Iowa State called a timeout when TCU led 22-21. This time, TCU stuck around to push the set long and ultimately won 28-26.

Pushing to set five

The Cyclones lost set three in what was once again a close battle. Three was the largest lead either team had.

Iowa State lost the third set on a serving error, something that plagued the Cyclones all night.

Set four was all Iowa State, winning 25-18. TCU never had an answer in this set, allowing Iowa State to hit .414 and extend the match to a fifth set.

The final set was as close as could be, with the largest lead being two when Iowa State took the win.

TCU started with the first point, so Iowa State had to play from behind and took its first set five lead at 10-9. That helped propel the Cyclones passed the Horned Frogs.

Offense awakens, aggression up

Iowa State finished with a season-high total of 71 kills led by Nayeli Gonzalez with 21. Four Cyclones had 10 or more kills in the match.

Iowa State had trouble serving all over the course of the whole match. The aggression was there, but the execution was not.

The Cyclones committed a season-high 21 service errors with only four service aces. TCU won set three due to an Iowa State service error.

Iowa State hit much higher than its season average. As a team, the Cyclones hit .296 in the match en route to their win.

The rematch against TCU will be at 6 p.m. Saturday and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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Jacob Rice, Visual Editor
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