Sept. 9, 2010

Courtesy of Iowa State

AMES, Iowa – Victoria Henson continued her hot hitting against Northern Iowa and Carly Jenson put in one of her finest performances as No. 11 Iowa State swept the No. 18 Panthers, 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-22), Wednesday at a sold out Ames High School Gymnasium. The win improves the Cyclones to 6-1 on the season.

“I thought we served really well,” Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “We needed to get their setter off the net to neutralize her attack and I thought we did a good job with that. I thought we played tough defense, UNI is a great defensive team and we wanted to out dig them and we did.”

Henson had a reputation of success against Iowa State’s in-state rival, averaging 5.89 kills per set while hitting at a .347 clip going into the match. That reputation didn't suffer with the senior collecting 17 kills at a .405 hitting percentage. Henson finished with a double-double on the night, adding 10 digs.

“I think every team has to have a go-to player that everyone knows is getting the ball and she still produces,” Johnson-Lynch stated. “That is what Vic did tonight. She has been playing at such a high level this season and has put up phenomenal numbers.”

Jenson put forth a crucial all-around performance, collecting 10 kills at a .348 hitting percentage and 14 digs. Jamie Straube also collected 10 kills for the Cyclones. Debbie Stadick was a force in the middle, ripping seven kills on 11 swings for a .545 hitting percentage.

The first set was controlled by the Cyclones, with the Panthers never seeing the lead in the 25-16 Iowa State set win. The offensive attack was led by Henson’s five kills and Straube’s four.  Jenson and Ashley Mass collected six first-set digs apiece, while the team collected six team blocks while holding UNI to a -.024 hitting percentage.

“We really felt like we have not been blocking like we want to,” Johnson-Lynch noted. “We have been practicing every day, making sure that it is a strength.”

Northern Iowa was much more into the match in the second set, holding an 8-5 advantage early in the set. Iowa State wrestled back the lead with a 5-0 run to give the squad a 17-13 lead that they wouldn’t concede on their way to a 25-20 set victory. Henson took the lead for the Cyclones offensively, collecting six kills while Straube added another four. Jenson earned six digs in the set. Michelle Burow anchored the Panther attack with four kills in the set.

Then Panthers took early control of the third set, putting Iowa State in a 6-2 hole. The Cyclones staged a quick counter to tie it at 7-7. The teams exchanged points for the most part before a 4-0 run mid-set gave UNI an 18-13 lead, their largest of the set. The Cyclones responded with a 6-1 run to tie the set back up at 19-19. After exchanging a couple of points, Kelsey Petersen and Stadick teamed up for a block that gave Iowa State their first lead of the set at 22-21. Iowa State rallied off the next two points to attain a match point. After a service error by Alison Landwehr, it was Henson who sealed the deal with a big kill, causing the sell-out crowd to erupt.

“I thought it was a great atmosphere,” Johnson-Lynch said. “The players couldn’t hear us. It was very loud and very intimidating tonight.”

Landwehr finished with 47 assists, setting the Cyclones to a .330 hitting percentage. The Cyclones have hit above .300 in four of seven matches this fall.

The Panthers were led by Burow’s nine kills and saw Krista DeGeest add eight more. Ellie Blankenship led the Northern Iowa defense with 11 digs.