Dec. 5, 2009

Courtesy of Iowa State

AMES, Iowa – Seventh-seeded and fifth-ranked Iowa State swept Wichita State, 3-0 (27-25, 25-21, 25-18), to advance to its third-straight Sweet 16. The Cyclones (27-4) will face 10th-seeded Nebraska Friday at the Qwest Center in Omaha at 7 p.m. A limited number of tickets for the Omaha Regional will go on sale Sunday at 1 p.m. at cyclones.com.

The Cyclones held the Shockers to .112 hitting percentage to become just the third Big 12 school to reach the Sweet 16 in three-consecutive years, joining Nebraska and Texas.

Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said she was pleased with the weekend and how the Cyclones responded to being the favorite, as opposed to the underdog role they played the last three seasons.

“I feel good about this weekend; we’re in a new place this year,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We’ve never come into a NCAA Tournament with a seed, never hosted a (NCAA) Tournament. It’s a different place for us; it takes some getting used to. It’s a different feeling with something to lose, as opposed to being the underdog.

“We’re getting better and better and getting a win against good teams when you’re not playing perfect is the sign of a great team.”

Kaylee Manns had 37 assists, 14 digs and three kills to become the first player in Big 12 history to record 5,500 assists, 1,000 digs, 300 kills and 300 blocks in a career. Victoria Henson notched a match-high 15 kills and Rachel Hockaday added 12 kills and 15 digs.

Kelsey Petersen also contributed nine kills on a career-best .533 hitting percentage.

ISU held a 65-49 edge in digs, with four players in double-digits. Ashley Mass paced ISU with 18, followed by Hockaday’s 15 and Manns’ 14. Henson added 10 and Caitlin Mahoney finished with seven as the Cyclones improved to 13-1 at home.

At the net, ISU held an 8-6 edge in blocks, paced by Jamie Straube’s four and Petersen’s three.

In the opening frame, ISU trailed 13-11 following an ace from Katie Niggemeyer. The Cyclones scored the next five points, three of which came on kills from Henson. The Shockers stormed back to score the next four points and take the lead back, but the Cyclones responded with three of their own to go on top 19-17. After Manns notched her first kill, ISU led 22-20 before the Shockers rallied with two in a row. WSU eventually had set point at 24-23 following an Emily Stockman kill.

Henson then responded with back-to-back blasts to give ISU set point before Stockman tied it again at 25 all. ISU tallied the final two points of the set on a kill from Henson and another from Hockaday to win the set 27-25.

Henson was the difference in the opening set, notching nine kills.

Iowa State held the Shockers to a .051 hitting percentage in the second set to win 25-21 and head into the break up 2-0.

In the set, ISU jumped out to a 6-1 lead and held the five-point margin until 15-10 after a Hockaday. The Shockers then went on a run, tying it at 16-16 on a Henson attack error. Henson didn’t misfire on the next point, ripping a kill and igniting a three-point run that separated the teams. ISU held off a late Wichita State rally that cut the lead to 23-21 to win the set 25-21 on a block of Niggemeyer by Henson and Debbie Stadick.

The Cyclones only trailed early in the third set and held a 13-11 lead before going on a 4-0 run that sealed the trip to Omaha. Straube had four of her seven kills in set to lead the Cyclones.

Emily Stockton led the Shockers (26-7) with 12 kills and 12 digs. Amanda Backes finished with nine kills and Niggemeyer posted eight in the losing effort.