GAMER: ISU volleyball concludes Big 12 season with win on senior night


Tiffany Herring/Iowa State Daily

Teammates Mackenzie Bigbee, Tory Knuth and Caitlin Nolan celebrate a point during the Cyclone’s sweep of TCU on October 26.

Kevin Horner

The Lowdown

Iowa State (18-9, 11-5 Big 12) defeated Baylor (16-13, 4-11 Big 12) at Hilton Coliseum on Nov. 24, claiming a four-set victory on senior night (25-20, 25-16, 20-25, 25-21). Seniors Caitlin Nolan, Tory Knuth and Mackenzie Bigbee were honored before the match.

The Cyclones used a late 5-1 run to fuel a first-set victory, overcoming an early deficit. Junior Ciara Capezio led the late ISU charge with two kills and a block assist in the last six points of the set.

Iowa State carried its accumulated momentum into the second set, beginning the game with an early 6-0 run to gain a 12-5 lead. Baylor showed signs of life after the ISU run, cutting the lead to two points at 15-13. In the end, however, the lead was too much to overcome, and the Cyclones held a 2-0 lead going into the break.

Baylor fought out of the break to claim a back-and-forth third set, 25-20, but that was all the ground it would gain. Redshirt junior Natalie Vondrak fueled a win in the fourth set and the match as the Cyclones maintained a slim lead throughout. 

The X-Factor

Redshirt junior OH Natalie Vondrak — Vondrak, despite playing in just two of the four sets, recorded seven kills on a .278 hitting percentage, adding four kills to her stat line, as well. Vondrak, after being subbed in for freshman Jess Schaben, led the Cyclones to victory in the fourth set.

Vondrak’s immediate back-to-back kills off the bench gave Iowa State an early 6-4 advantage in the fourth set. She accounted for nearly half of the Cyclones first 13 points on six kills. Vondrak notched her seventh and final kill on a 24-21 match point for Iowa State’s 11th and final Big 12 win of the season.

By the Numbers

68.75 – Iowa State won 68.75 percent of its conference matches this season — losing only to Texas, Kansas and Kansas State.

11 – Redshirt junior Morgan Kuhrt notched 14 kills on Tuesday, marking her 11th match with double-digit kills this season.

21 – Nolan recorded 21 kills on senior night, leading all players. She was the only ISU senior to play all four sets.

419 – Nolan has also played in 419 total sets in her career, 10th in ISU volleyball history.

300 – Schaben is the third ISU freshman to surpass 300 kills on a season.

10 – ISU volleyball coach Christy Johnson-Lynch capped off her 10th winning season in the Big 12 — her 10th-straight season above .500 in conference, as well.