CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – Iowa State survived a tough challenge from Appalachian State, taking down the Mountaineers in five sets 3-2 (25-22, 24-26, 25-22, 21-25, 15-12) Friday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium. The win improved ISU to 3-1, while ASU fell to 3-2.
Jess Schaben had one of the most dominant performances by a freshman in Iowa State history, firing down 28 kills in the win. Ciara Capezio finished with 17 kills and a career-high 20 digs and Caitlin Nolan had 34 digs.
Story of the Match
Appalachian State got the first separation in set one, as the Mountaineers went on a 4-0 run to go from 6-5 down to 9-6 ahead. ISU’s libero Caitlin Nolan used her tough serving to bring back to level terms at 10-10. After trading a few points, ISU was able to build a lead, taking advantage of a pair of ASU errors to move ahead 16-13. The Cyclones did well to use their size advantage over the Mountaineers, getting the ball early and often to Alexis Conaway and Samara West and using Jess Schaben through the middle to rack up points. ISU got to set point at 24-22, but Appalachian State fought off the first two. The third time was the charm as West denied ASU’s Jess Keller to give Iowa State the first set 25-22.
The second set was a close encounter the whole way through. Neither team opened up a lead of three points until the Mountaineers took the set from being tied at 16-16 with four-straight points, two coming on kills by Ashton Gregory to move ahead 20-16. The Cyclones were able to battle back though, and it was the freshman Jess Schaben who led the way. Schaben nailed four consecutive kills on four-straight ISU points, the third tied things up at 23-23, and the fourth fought off a set point. However, ASU was able to close out the set on back-to-back kills from Emily Corrigan to claim the set 26-24 and even the match.
The Iowa State offense continued to establish its authority in the third set. Schaben continued her impact early on, collecting most of her five third-set kills in the early proceedings. After that the Cyclones saw Ciara Capezio step up. The junior missed the first matches of her ISU career last weekend due to a sprained ankle, but played like she never left. Capezio was strong in attack, firing down five kills in the frame, and was outstanding on the defensive end, tying her career-high for digs with another set still to play. Like the first set, ASU fought off a pair of set points, but also like the first set ISU got it on the third try with Morgan Kuhrt coming across the middle for a kill at a 25-22 third set win.
After some tight early proceedings, Appalachian State was able to build up a lead, using a 4-0 run to get ahead 13-9. The Cyclones continued to feed Schaben, who continued to rack up kills on the Mountaineers. The work paid off as a Capezio kill tied the fourth set up at 14-14. After trading some points, ASU ran off four in a row, taking advantage of a pair of Cyclone errors, to move back ahead 20-16. However, the return of Schaben to the front row was not enough to get ISU back into the set as ASU took it 25-21.
Like most of the rest of the match, the fifth set was another tight one with small margins for error. The Cyclones went back to balancing the attack, with Capezio and West the main contributors. With the set tied 6-6, ISU made its move with a 3-0 run to make it 9-6. With the Cyclones ahead 11-8, the Mountaineers battled back, taking advantage of some ISU errors to tie it back at 12-12 on a Jess Keller kill. Once again, it was Capezio who stepped up for ISU, firing down her 17th kill to put Iowa State back ahead. The Cyclones re-took control from there as a Bigbee kill brought up match point, which ISU only needed one with Bigbee and West denying Keller at the net to take the match.
*Iowa State is now 32-23 in five-set matches under head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch
*Caitlin Nolan posted 34 digs, her fifth career 30-dig match. Nolan has been in double figures for digs in 22 consecutive matches.
*Monique Harris set a career-high with 41 assists.
*Samara West finished with 11 kills, her sixth career match in double figures.
*West also posted a career-best .625 hitting percentage, her previous best being .600 against North Dakota last Saturday.
*Grace Lazard posted a career high with five kills.
*Ciara Capezio finished with 17 kills and 20 digs, her 16th career double-double.
*Capezio’s 17 kills marked her 30th career match with at least 10 kills.
*Capezio’s 20 digs was her first career 20-dig match
*Branen Berta posted 12 digs, her sixth career match in double figures.
*Jess Schaben led Iowa State with 28 kills, her third career match in double figures.
*Schaben’s 28 kills is the most by a freshman in a match in ISU history. The previous record was shared by Mackenzie Bigbee (25, vs. Illinois – 2012) and Melissa Duffield (25, vs. Kansas – 1998).
*Schaben’s 28 kills is also tied for the ninth-most in a match in Iowa State volleyball history.
*True freshman Remi Bowman made her Iowa State debut. The Cyclones have now had five true freshmen play in 2015 (Hannah Bailey, Bowman, Grace Lazard, Abby Phillips, Jess Schaben).
Iowa State returns to Memorial Gym tomorrow for a doubleheader. ISU’s first match of the day against VCU will be 11 a.m. Central Time, followed by the final match of the tournament against hosts Virginia at 6 p.m. Central Time.