MANHATTAN, Kansas – Iowa State was able to take the first set off No. 23 Kansas State Wednesday night at Ahearn Field House, but was unable to garner any other momentum from it. The Wildcats defeated the Cyclones 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-15) to improve to 12-2 on the year and 1-0 in Big 12 play. ISU is now 7-5 overall and 0-1 against conference competition.
Alexis Conaway and Jess Schaben led the ISU offense with 13 kills each, Conaway getting her 13 at a .367 hitting percentage. Ciara CapezioClick here to hear it led the back-row with 14 digs, which included her making a debut at libero in the fourth set. The K-State block was strong against ISU, recording 14.0 total blocks while restricting Iowa State to a .134 hitting percentage.
Schaben Leads ISU Back to Take Set One
After K-State racked up five of the first six points, the Cyclones were able to cut the deficit down to one at 5-4, but the momentum did not last long. Three of Kansas State’s first 10 points came via service aces, two from Brooke Sassin, to open up a 10-5 advantage. A strong serving run by Morgan Kuhrt helped bring ISU back into the set at 12-9, and then another strong run from Monique Harris behind the line cut it to one at 16-15. Alexis Conaway tied up proceedings at 18-18 after putting away a K-State overpass. The Cyclones got ahead at 21-20 on Jess Schaben’s fourth kill of the set, and her fifth and sixth kills brought up set point at 24-21. The Cyclones went to the well on first asking, with Schaben delivering yet again to give ISU the first set 25-21.
Cyclone Offense Struggles as K-State Evens Match
Once again, Iowa State began the set in an early hole as K-State rushed out to an early 8-4 advantage. The Wildcat block stepped up to stifle any potential ISU momentum, as back-to-back-to-back blocks helped the K-State lead move up to 12-6. The Cyclone offense floundered, being limited to a .056 hitting clip for the frame as Kansas State got up by as many as eight points. Iowa State was able to cut the deficit back down to five at 21-16, but the damage was done. K-State got to set point at 24-17, and converted on the first asking when Schaben was denied by Katie Brand and Macy Flowers to make it 25-17 Wildcats.
ISU Can’t Dig Out of Big Hole as K-State Takes Third
An 8-1 Kansas State run gave the Wildcats some early breathing room at 13-6, as once again the Cyclone offense struggled to get around the block. Iowa State struggled to find a formula to get back into the set, as lineup changes across the board were not working with Wildcat lead continuing to balloon up to 18-8. Sami Hillmer came off the bench to provide a spark behind the service line, leading ISU on a 5-0 to cut the KSU lead down to five, but the Wildcats were too far ahead to bring back. K-State got set point at 24-17, which was again converted on the first try as Schaben’s back-row attack was denied by Katie Reininger and Kylee Zumach to make it 25-17 KSU and 2-1 K-State.
Wildcat Offense Propels K-State to Victory
The Cyclones continued to shuffle, with Ciara CapezioClick here to hear it being moved into the libero position for the fourth set. The Cyclones were able to hang tough before a 5-0 run powered by a pair of Sassin aces upped the K-State lead to 12-6. The Wildcat offense was on point in the fourth, hitting .351 in the set, while having another strong blocking frame at 5.0 total blocks. Match point arrived at 24-15 on a block, and the match was closed on a block as Grace LazardClick here to hear it was denied by Zsofia Gyimes and Alyssa Schultejans to make it 25-15 KSU and 3-1 K-State.
*Alexis Conaway had 13 kills, her second match of the season in double figures and 17th of her career.
*Ciara CapezioClick here to hear it contributed 14 digs, her fourth time in 2016 in double figures and 36th of her career.
*Capezio made her debut at libero in the match. She is the third Cyclone to play libero in 2016 (Branen Berta, Abby Phillips).
*Jess Schaben posted 13 kills, her fifth match of the season in double figures and 24th of her career.
*Schaben delivered seven kills in the first set, tying for the most by a Cyclone in a set in 2016. She had done it five previous times, and Alexis Conaway did it once.
*Hali HillegasClick here to hear it had 10 digs, her second time in 2016 and her career in double figures.
Iowa State will have its home Big 12 opener on Sunday against TCU. First serve between the Cyclones and Horned Frogs will be at 4 p.m.