AMES, Iowa – Iowa State (16-8, 8-5 Big 12) got the first win of a big weekend series against Kansas State (14-8, 5-6 Big 12) 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17) Thursday night at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones have won three straight and can get their second Big 12 sweep in as many weekends on Saturday at 1 p.m. against the Wildcats.
Eleanor Holthaus led the way in her return after missing the last three matches, finishing with 17 kills at .364 hitting. Avery Rhodes, making only her second start of the season, had a huge night with 12 kills at .409 hitting. Annie Hatch added 11 kills. Brooke Stonestreet matched her career-high with 18 digs, while Marija Popovic returned to the libero spot with 15 digs and two aces.
Set One: Iowa State 25 Kansas State 21
A 4-0 run featured two blocks by Candelaria Herrera and Jaden Newsome to move ahead 8-5. Though a slender lead, it was an advantage that Iowa State would not give up, with K-State getting back within two on multiple occasions but never within one. The Cyclone offense continued to click along, hitting .312 as a team in the set, with Eleanor Holthaus leading the attack with four kills on the set. It took ISU three tries to convert set point but got the 1-0 lead when K-State setter Teana Adams-Kaonohi fired wide at 25-21.
Set Two: Kansas State 25 Iowa State 23
The Cyclones were again the early leaders but were never able to build a lead of more than two points, as K-State tied the set up at 9-9 when Annie Hatch was blocked by Sydney Bolding and Haley Warner, and the visitors moved ahead at 11-10 on a Warner kill. A 3-0 run on the serve of Herrera swung ISU back ahead at 16-15, but K-State hung tough and battled back ahead with a 3-0 run of their own, capped by a Mackenzie Morris ace at 21-20. The Wildcats were able to hold their lead from there, taking advantage of four ISU service errors in the set. Kadye Fernholz killed even the match, 25-23.
Set Three: Iowa State 25 Kansas State 20
It was all K-State early, as the Wildcats took advantage of a quartet of ISU attack errors to get ahead 9-3. The Cyclones made quick work to get back in it, Herrera keying the early momentum with a strong 4-0 serving run, and then ISU tying it at 11-11 on a Kenzie Mantz kill. ISU moved ahead at 14-12 on consecutive Marija Popovic aces, and the Cyclones did not look back. Iowa State cleaned up its serving considerably, getting three aces with no errors to help erase K-State’s 45-point advantage in hitting for the set. ISU moved back ahead in the match with a Mantz kill at 25-20.
Set Four: Iowa State 25 Kansas State 17
Iowa State got the first three points of the set with two Holthaus kills and an Avery Rhodes kill and never relinquished the lead. An Allie Petry ace bumped the lead to 8-4 and the lead got to six at 14-8 on another Rhodes kill. K-State did not give up, getting back within a pair at 17-15, but Herrera put up another strong serving run to put the set and the match out of sight, going on a 5-0 run to reach match point, which was converted on second asking with another Rhodes kill at 25-17. ISU’s defense held K-State to .000 hitting on the set, with Popovic leading an ISU back-line that recorded 20 digs in the set.
Player of the Match
Avery Rhodes. Making only her second start of the season, the redshirt senior got her Senior Weekend off to the right start with one of her biggest matches as a Cyclone. The Waco, Texas native posted 12 kills at .409 hitting, while also contributing two blocks.
Iowa State and Kansas State play the second match Saturday at 1 p.m. inside Hilton Coliseum. Fans are encouraged to stick around following the match for Senior Day ceremonies honoring Brooke Andersen, Taylor Baranski, Candelaria Herrera, Eleanor Holthaus, Marija Popovic and Avery Rhodes.