Dec. 12, 2008

Courtesy of cyclones.com

AUSTIN, Texas - Iowa State rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat No. 7 Oregon, 3-2 (17-25, 11-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-8), and advance to the school's first-ever regional final. The Cyclones will face the winner of No. 3 Texas and No. 9 UCLA on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Gregory Gym. The match will be televised on ESPNU.

"I think this was definitely the biggest win," Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson said. "We've beat great teams and ranked teams, but to advance to the Elite Eight is just something special. Not a lot of programs get to experience this. This is absolutely the biggest win for our program in the last four years."

Iowa State (22-12) hit .650 in the decisive fifth set, racking up 13 kills with no errors on 20 swings, to defeat the Ducks (25-9), giving ISU its highest win ever over a ranked opponent.

The Cyclones were led by sophomore Victoria Henson's 18 kills. Kaylee Manns chalked up her third-straight double-double, finishing with 54 assists and 14 digs. Four other Cyclones had double-digit kills, including the freshmen trio of Rachel Hockaday, Kelsey Petersen and Debbie Stadick. Hockaday finished with 12 kills while Petersen added 11 and Stadick joined Jen Malcom with 10 kills each.

Iowa State held a 70-69 edge in digs with four players reaching double-figures. Ashley Mass had a match-high 20, and Amy Vos and Rachel Hockaday had 12 and 10, respectively, in the contest.

Oregon hit .389 in the first set on its way to a 25-17 win. Maricic paced the Ducks with six first-set kills and OU held a 21-13 edge in digs. ISU trailed 4-3 following a kill from Henson but Oregon scored the next three to make it 7-3. The Ducks went up 17-10 before ISU used a 5-1 run to close the gap to 18-15. It was too late for ISU though as Oregon six of the last eight points to take the win.

Oregon used an early run in the second set to cruise to the 25-11 win and go up 2-0 in the match. The Ducks, who blistered the ball at a .524 clip in the set, took a 7-2 lead out of the gates and held ISU to a -.038 hitting percentage en route to the win.

The Cyclones got back into the match with a 25-22 third set win. ISU hit .209 while Oregon hit .222 in the set. The Cyclones opened up a 6-2 lead in the set following a block by Malcom and Manns. The Ducks rallied back to tie it for the first time at 19-19 but Manns got a kill and Hockaday followed with a solo block and a kill to make it 22-19. Following an ace by Caitlin Mahoney, Oregon fought back to get within one at 23-22 but Hockaday added another kill and Mass had an ace to give ISU the set.

The Cyclones forced a fifth set with a 25-22 win in the fourth. The set featured 15 ties and four lead changes, with Iowa State taking the lead for good at 23-22 on a kill from Malcom. ISU pushed its lead to two on an attack error by the Ducks and Stadick and Manns finished it by stuffing back a Gorana Maricic attack.

Iowa State was not to be denied in the fifth set as it never trailed and never allowed Oregon to tie it, taking the first two points on kills by Stadick and Petersen. ISU extended its lead to 9-3 following three straight kills by Henson. The match ended on Mass' third service ace of the match.

The Ducks were led by Maricic's 20 kills. Heather Meyers and Kristen Forristall had 13 and 11 kills, respectively.

Iowa State was out blocked 17-6 in the match.