The West Virginia volleyball team will look to rebound off of last week’s loss to Oklahoma with a home match against the No. 13 Iowa State Cyclones on Wednesday evening.
This will be the second meeting between the conference foes this season. During their previous match in Ames, the Mountaineers fell against the then-No. 22 Cyclones, 3-1.
Iowa State, who is now 17-5, will continue to utilize its strength in number of seasoned players, including setter Monique Harris, who is now averaging a hitting percentage of .217. Harris is also responsible for 61 of the Cyclones’ points scored this season.
Outside hitter Jess Schaben has recorded 256 kills so far this year, hitting 18 when ISU last played West Virginia.
WVU fell to Oklahoma, 3-2, in a five-set thriller last weekend, so a rebound against a ranked team would mean a lot to the Mountaineers. This will mark the sixth ranked team that West Virginia has faced this year and the first of the last three home volleyball matches.
Against the Sooners, four Mountaineers finished with more than 10 kills. Sophomore outside hitter and key offensive weapon Payton Caffrey led the team with 13. Morgan Montgomery and Briana Lynch each recorded 11, while Natania Levak finished the evening with 10. Erin Slinde assisted on all but 10 of West Virginia’s 46 kills.
Defensively, senior libero Gianna Gotterba led the team with 20 digs. Statistically, the numbers were there for West Virginia to defeat Oklahoma, but the Mountaineers just couldn’t quite deliver in the next set.
Now, against a ranked team at home, they have no choice but to deliver.
"We have to keep building on what we are trying to do," said WVU Head Coach Reed Sunahara. "We have to execute at a higher level. We have five tough matches coming up, but we just want to take it one match at a time starting with Iowa State."
Despite having 10 losses on the year, the building West Virginia program has delivered its best season since being under the direction of Sunahara, only winning 12 games in 2016 and five games in 2015. It’s also important to note that five of those 10 losses were to ranked opponents, with eight of the 10 coming from conference rivals.
The match against the Cyclones is slated for 6 p.m.