MISSOULA, Montana – Iowa State picked up a 3-1 (25-12, 22-25, 26-24, 25-21) win over Gonzaga to begin the Montana Invitational Friday afternoon at Dahlberg Arena. ISU improved to 4-1 on the season, while the Bulldogs are now 0-3.
The Cyclones were led by a career-high 16 kills at a .342 hitting percentage from Eleanor Holthaus, while Jess Schaben had 15 kills. On defense, Avery Rhodes tied a career-high with 10 blocks (one solo, nine assists), while Hali Hillegas posted 31 digs, her second 30-dig match of the season and sixth of her career.
Set One: Iowa State 25 Gonzaga 12
Iowa State’s block stifled the Bulldogs throughout the first set. ISU held Gonzaga to a -.100 hitting percentage, finishing with 6.0 total blocks for the set. The Cyclone size advantage was apparent in the attack, too, as Grace Lazard was able to get four kills in the first frame. Iowa State got ahead 1-0 when Jess Schaben pushed her third kill of the frame through the GU block at 25-12.
Set Two: Gonzaga 25 Iowa State 22
ISU got off to a slow start in set two, with the Zags moving ahead 8-3. Schaben was the key to the Cyclones working their way back into the set, as she had three kills and went behind the service line to serve up a 4-0 run to cut GU’s lead to one at 13-12. However, Gonzaga pushed back and got ahead by five at 18-13. The Bulldogs were able to hold on despite a late ISU run, as none of the Cyclones were able to reach Gretchen Rudel’s tip kill at 25-22.
Set Three: Iowa State 26 Gonzaga 24
The Cyclones got off to another slow start, but were able to get back in the frame quicker by feeding the middle, as Grace Lazard and Avery Rhodes had a pair of kills to takes ISU ahead 12-9. Gonzaga held tough, and eventually made a comeback with a 5-0 run to get ahead 17-16. It was a back-and-forth affair from there, with GU getting to set point first 24-23. ISU held on and got its own set point chance at 25-24. The Cyclones put it away on the first try, as Schaben notched her 12th kill of the day to make it 26-24 ISU.
Set Four: Iowa State 25 Gonzaga 21
Another slow start hampered ISU, as Gonzaga raced out to a 4-1 lead. The advantage was short-lived as ISU moved ahead at 7-6 on a Bulldogs blocking error. Avery Rhodes dominated proceedings from there, as a pair of kills and three blocks pushed Iowa State ahead 15-10. The Cyclones never looked back, hitting .341 as a team in the frame, and recording another 3.0 blocks as a team. ISU closed out the match when Brooke Andersen put down her fourth kill of the set at 25-21.
Player of the Match
Avery Rhodes. The sophomore middle powered a strong ISU blocking effort, as her 10 career-high-tying 10 blocks were part of a 16-block afternoon by the Cyclones. In the attack, she finished with eight kills at a .400 hitting percentage.
MISSOULA, Montana – Iowa State finished up a 2-0 day at the Montana Invitational by sweeping Montana 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-22) at Dahlberg Arena Friday night. ISU is now 5-1 on the season, while the Grizzlies fall to 0-5.
The Cyclones’ rotated the lineup, and the newcomers made the difference, as Hannah Bailey led the way with 10 kills at a .368 hitting percentage and five blocks, while Meegan Hart had a career-high nine kills at a .467 hitting clip and four blocks. Jenna Brandt put up 37 assists, five digs, three blocks and two kills in her first career start.
Set One: Iowa State 25 Montana 14
Montana was strong early, but the Cyclone serve was able to do some damage to get in the lead, with Brooke Andersen and Hali Hillegas serving up aces to put the visitors ahead 7-5. Getting a start for the resting Avery Rhodes, Meegan Hart made an impact early, posting three kills and a block to push ahead 11-6. The Cyclones hit .429 as a team, while UM was restricted to a .061 hitting clip. Iowa State got ahead 1-0 when Brooke Andersen, Hannah Bailey and Hart combined for a block at 25-14.
Set Two: Iowa State 25 Montana 21
A sloppy start to the second set gave the Griz a 12-4 edge to get going. Again, ISU turned behind the service line to make a run, with Grace Lazard running off four-straight to help narrow the gap, but the home team was able to stuff Jess Schaben on consecutive points to open the score back to 15-8. UM’s own errors helped bring the Cyclones back into the frame, as a 9-0 ISU run was assisted by a quartet of Grizzly errors to put Iowa State ahead 17-15. Montana bounced back to tie the set at 21-21, but ISU ran off the final four points of the frame to take the second 25-21.
Set Three: Iowa State 25 Montana 22
Iowa State went on a 4-0 run early in the third to get up 5-2, and would build that lead to six at 12-6. Montana fought back, going on a 5-0 run to cut the Cyclone advantage to a point. The Griz tied it up six times, but ISU got back ahead each time whether that be by kills from Bailey or Hart or UM service errors. Hart’s ninth kill at 21-20 was the point that put ISU ahead for good as Bailey got her 10th kill of the day on match point to end the set and the match.
Player of the Match
Hannah Bailey. The senior came in on the right side for the resting Eleanor Holthaus and led the Cyclone offense with 10 kills at a .367 hitting percentage. She also guided an ISU block which finished with 11.0 total blocks, posting a solo block and four block assists.
Iowa State and No. 22 Utah will play for the Montana Invitational championship Saturday afternoon at Noon Central. Once again, the Big Sky Conference will provide free live streaming, here.