Cyclone Volleyball Stops UNI 3-1 at NCAA's - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cyclone Volleyball Stops UNI 3-1 at NCAA's

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Victoria Henson blasted 25 kills as Iowa State defeated Northern Iowa 3-1 (26-24, 16-25, 25-21, 25-16) Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Sports Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota. With the win, ISU advances to the second round to face 12th ranked  Minnesota on Saturday at 7 p.m.

"I think I speak for all of us in that we feel fortunate to be sitting here," Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson said. "I thought UNI played a great match. We knew it would be very tough. They are a great team and are very physical, similar to many of the teams we see in the Big 12. Individually we had some great performances."

The Cyclones (20-12) had three players in double-digits, led by Henson's 25 kills, which broke the ISU school-record for kills in an NCAA Tournament match. Jen Malcom and Rachel Hockaday had 11 kills each for the Cyclones.

Henson finished with her second career double-double and second in as many matches, digging 10 balls in the win. Hockaday also had a double-double with 13 digs and Kaylee Manns posted her 48th career double-double with 49 assists and 15 digs. Ashley Mass tied Manns for the team lead with 15 digs.

Manns needs just one dig to become just the 11th player in school history to reach 1,000 digs while Mass sits just 18 digs shy of the single-season record of 606, set by Steph McCannon.

ISU had six service aces in the match and out dug the Panthers, 66-52. It marks the 28th time in 32 matches this season that ISU has out dug its opponent.

The Cyclones took an offensive first set by a 26-24 score, getting 11 kills from Henson, who hit .625 in the set, on their way to a 1-0 lead in the match. Both teams hit over .400 in the set, with ISU racking up a .415 average and UNI hitting at a .429 clip. The Cyclones trailed 22-20 but tied it after back-to-back kills from Malcom and Henson. The set was tied at 24-24 when Henson pounded two straight kills to get the win.

Set two was all UNI with the Panthers hitting at a .275 clip and holding the Cyclones to a .000 percentage. UNI had five blocks in the set and never trailed en route to the 25-16 win. Amy Sampson led the way for the Panthers with five kills in the set.

The third set was pivotal in the match as ISU fought off a 16-10 deficit and came back to win 25-21. Trailing 21-19, ISU finished with the final six points to get the win. Henson had six kills to lead the comeback and ISU held the Panthers to a .128 hitting percentage.

"I think the third game, when we were way down, it is something that this group has seen, unfortunately, too many times," Johnson said. "It is something we have experienced before. It is what we experienced in the tournament last year when we had a couple of come-from-behind games that we ended up winning. Just having gone through that experience several times before allows them to get into that position and not panic and stay composed. The team had that belief it was going to turn around and it allowed us to get back into that match."

The fourth was all ISU after the team's fought to a 12-12 tie. Hockaday broke the tie with a kill and ISU scored 11 of the next 12 points to get the win and advance past the first round for the third-straight year.

The Panthers got 12 kills from Sampson and 11 from Ashten Stelken. UNI hit .241 in the match, well down from its .323 clip in the first meeting between the schools earlier this season. Ellie Blankenship had a match-high 23 digs in the contest.

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