MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – Iowa State had to fight off three West Virginia match points, but Jess Schaben drove the Cyclones to a 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-27, 25-19, 17-15) win Friday night at the WVU Coliseum. The win makes ISU 8-6 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 play. WVU is now 10-7 on the year and 2-2 against conference competition.
Schaben led Iowa State with 26 kills, including the kill that gave ISU match point and the kill that closed the match for ISU. Morgan Kuhrt had a season-high 18 kills, while Hali Hillegas led the defense with 16 digs in her debut as ISU libero.
Clean Cyclones Take First Set
The Cyclones early first set lead came down to a matter of making errors. ISU did not give away any free points for the first 22 points of the frame, keeping it clean both in attack and on the serve. The Mountaineers were not as clean, as a trio of attack errors and a blocking errors helped ISU get ahead by four at 11-7. WVU tied it at 14-14, but back-to-back kills from Jess Schaben got ISU ahead again at 16-14, a lead they would not relinquish. The Cyclones brought up set point on a Morgan Kuhrt ace at 24-19, and closed it out on the second try with Alexis Conaway putting down a kill at 25-20 ISU.
WVU Pulls Away to Even Match
The Iowa State offense, which hit .333 in the first set, continued to produce in system, continuing to feed Kuhrt and Schaben. However, the Mountaineers were also doing better on offense, finding Payton Caffrey multiple times to build a 10-7 lead. The Cyclones eventually creeped back ahead at 14-13 when Conaway and Kuhrt denied Caffrey. WVU’s offense continued to be strong, and eventually pushed the home team back ahead by three at 21-18. ISU cut the Mountaineer lead to 23-21, but WVU got set point at 24-21 and wrapped it up on the second try when Mia Swanegan put down a kill to make it 25-22 WVU.
ISU Misses Chances as WVU Escapes With Third Set
Both offenses slowed down considerably in the third frame, but the Cyclones were able to get ahead early behind the service line. Ciara Capezio, Grace Lazard and Schaben all got aces to help ISU build up a 11-7 advantage. WVU got its first lead of the set at 20-19, but the Cyclones returned to its workhorses of Kuhrt and Schaben, who tied (Schaben) and got ISU back ahead (Kuhrt), 21-20. ISU had the first two cracks at closing out the set, but was unable to. Iowa State was then able to stave off West Virginia’s first two set points, but the home side put it away on the third try when Kately Evans downed an ISU overpass at 28-26 WVU.
Balanced Attack Forces a Fifth Set
Iowa State filed past WVU early in the fourth, finding Grace Lazard a couple times to help build a 4-0 advantage. The West Virginia block helped bring the home team back into things, as they continued to keep the ISU attack honest. WVU pulled ahead 11-10 on Caffrey’s 23rd kill of the night, but the Cyclones did well to battle back with Schaben helping carry the load to make it 16-13 ISU. The rest of the Cyclones were able to take it to a fifth, as Capezio and Samara West helped step up to bring up set point at 24-19, which Schaben converted with her 20th kill of the night at 25-19.
Iowa State Fights Off Trio of Match Points to Win
Both offenses were strong in the early portions of the fifth frame, but WVU was able to get some early breathing room at 5-3 after back-to-back kills. ISU tied it back again at 5-5, and the two teams then traded points all the way to 12-11 WVU. The Mountaineers were finally able to break the trading of points when Monique Harris was called in the net to make it 13-11 to the home team. WVU missed its first three tries at match point with a pair of ISU blocks tying it at 14-14. Iowa State got a swing at the match, but could not convert. At 15-15, Schaben got a kill to bring up match point, which she converted for her 26th and final kill to give ISU the road win.
*Iowa State won a five-set match for the first time since last season against Appalachian State on Sept. 4, 2015.
*The Cyclones won a five-setter in which they trailed 2-1 for the first time since coming from behind to win at Oklahoma on Nov. 12, 2014.
*Morgan Kuhrt posted a season-high 18 kills, her second match of the season in double figures and 27th of her career.
*Monique Harris had a career-high six kills. Her previous best was four twice in 2015 (at Baylor and vs. Baylor).
*Harris posted a career-high 64 assists, her previous best was 58 at Oklahoma last year.
*Harris also added 12 digs, her third double-double of the year and 15th of her career.
*Ciara Capezio recorded 10 kills, her fourth match of 2016 in double figures and 44th of her career.
*Jess Schaben led Iowa State with 26 kills, her third match of 2016 over 20 kills and fourth of her career.
*Schaben also had 11 digs for her second double-double of the season and her career.
*Schaben had seven kills in the first set, the sixth time in 2016 she has had seven kills in a set.
*Hali Hillegas made her first career appearance and start at libero for Iowa State. She is the fourth player in 2016 to don the opposite colored jersey (Branen Berta, Ciara Capezio, Abby Phillips).
*HIllegas had 16 digs, her third-straight match in double figures and fourth of her Cyclone career.
Iowa State returns to Hilton Coliseum Wednesday to take on No. 8 Kansas. First serve between the Cyclones and Jayhawks will be at 6:30 p.m.