OXFORD, Mississippi – Iowa State (0-1) battled hard, but fell to UCF (1-0) 3-2 (15-25, 25-22, 20-25, 21-25, 11-15) Friday afternoon at the Gillom Center. Iowa State bounced back from losing the first and third sets to even the match up twice, but was unable to come out on top in a tight third frame.
Leading ISU in defeat was Eleanor Holthaus with 13 kills, while Josie Herbst had 11 and, in her return from injury, Avery Rhodes with 10. Holthaus also added five blocks (two solo, five assists). In the back-row, Izzy Enna had 17 digs.
Set One: UCF 25 Iowa State 15
The Cyclones struggled against the UCF block, as the Knights front row helped establish a 12-6 lead. ISU fought its way back within four on a few occasions, but Iowa State had no answer for a potent Knights attack. UCF hit .484 in the first set, wrapping things up when Eleanor Holthaus hit into the net at 25-15.
Set Two: Iowa State 25 UCF 22
Set two got off to a better start for ISU, with Piper Mauck and Avery Rhodes finding a strong connection to push ISU ahead 6-3. UCF responded quickly to move ahead at 10-9, but Annie Hatch impressed in her ISU debut, notching a trio of kills to get the Cyclones ahead 14-12. Michal Schuler’s work behind the service line helped push ISU ahead 17-12. The Knight block stepped up to deny Hatch a couple of times to tie things again at 21-21. Hatch stepped up again, getting a block to take ISU to set point at 24-22 and then a kill to wrap up the set at 25-22.
Set Three: UCF 25 Iowa State 20
After a strong start, the Cyclone attack went into a funk, allowing the Knights to go on a 5-0 run and move ahead 11-7. The deficit became 14-9, before Rhodes sparked ISU with back-to-back kills and reeled UCF within a point at 16-15. Iowa State was unable to make the next step in the set, as UCF surged ahead and took the set on four hits violation on ISU.
Set Four: Iowa State 25 UCF 21
An even fourth set broke in favor of Iowa State at the midway point, as Brooke Andersen’s ace highlighted a 5-0 run that put the Cyclones ahead 16-12. The advantage did not last as UCF ran off four-straight to tie it at 16-16. Holthaus killed to put Iowa State ahead again, helping guide the match to a fifth set when Hatch powered through the block at 25-21.
Set Five: UCF 15 Iowa State 11
Both sides defense was the star of the early portions of the fifth set as the two teams did not allow each other ahead by more than two points in the first half of the frame. UCF took an 8-7 lead at the sides switch, and pushed ahead by two at 10-8. Andersen’s attack error made it 12-9 Knights and they sealed the win from there on a Kristina Fisher kill at 15-11 UCF.
Iowa State wraps up the Rebel Invitational tomorrow against hosts Ole Miss. First serve will be at 12:30 p.m. with SEC Network+ streaming the match.