Dec. 5, 2008

Courtesy of UNIpanthers.com

Minneapolis, Minn. - Victoria Henson had 25 kills to lead the Iowa State University volleyball team to a 3-1 win over the University of Northern Iowa Friday in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Championship at the Sports Pavilion. Set scores were 26-24, 16-25, 25-21 and 25-16 in favor of the Cyclones.

UNI was led by seniors Amy Sampson and Ashten Stelken, who had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Stelken also led all players with seven blocks, while Ellie Blankenship had a match-high 23 digs.

Iowa State scored the first two points of the match and held a slight edge through the first portion of set number one. UNI trailed 12-10, but scored four straight points, including getting blocks from Stelken and Sampson, to move in front 14-12. ISU got within 15-14, but Sampson had back-to-back kills to push the Panthers' advantage to 17-14.

UNI held a 22-20 lead, before Iowa State got three straight kills to pull ahead, 23-22. The Panthers evened the score at 23, before ISU got a kill from Henson to go up 24-23. Michelle Burow had a kill to fight off set point, but Henson had two straight kills to give the Cyclones the win, 26-24. Both teams were on fire offensively in the first set, as UNI hit .429 (14-2-28), while Iowa State hit .415 (22-5-41).

UNI took a 5-3 lead to start the second set, as Aschoff and Stelken each had a pair of early kills. Leading 8-6, Burow had a kill and a block to push the Panthers' advantage to 10-6, forcing a Cyclones timeout. Iowa State rallied, scoring five of the next seven points to get within 12-11.

But the Panthers then went on a 5-0 run, getting two kills from Sampson, along with a kill and block from setter Bre Payton, that pushed their lead back to 16-11. That proved to be the difference, as ISU wasn't able to get closer than four points the rest of the way. UNI ended the set on a 5-1 run, posting a 25-16 victory. The Panthers hit .250 (16-5-40) in the second set, while holding Iowa State to .000 hitting (8-8-39).

The Cyclones held a 5-4 lead to start the third set. UNI then went on a 4-0 run, getting a service ace from Kayla Grunder and a block from Stelken, to move in front 8-5. Iowa State got within 11-9, but Sampson had two kills during a 4-0 run that moved UNI to a 15-9 advantage.

UNI was ahead 16-10, when Iowa State scored six straight to tie the score at 16-16. Stelken stopped the run with a kill, and the Panthers built their lead back to 21-19 after Payton won a joust at the net. But Iowa State ended the set by scoring the final six points to earn the 25-21 win.

Neither team held more than a one point lead in the fourth set until Iowa State broke a 12-12 tie with three straight points to move in front, 15-12. Leading 16-13, Iowa State got two kills from Henson along with two Panther hitting errors to extend to a 20-13 lead. UNI didn't get closer than seven points after that as ISU won, 25-16, and clinched the match, three sets to one.

With the win, Iowa State improves to 20-12 and advances to tomorrow night's second round to face either Minnesota or North Dakota State. UNI's season ends with a record of 25-9.