The West Virginia volleyball team (15-11, 3-9 Big 12) fell in three sets on Wednesday night at the Coliseum against Iowa State (18-5, 8-4 Big 12).
This match marked the sixth time WVU has faced a ranked opponent in 2017, with the Cyclones of Iowa State receiving a No. 13 NCAA RPI ranking and coming in at No. 24 in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
“We have to play with a lot more enthusiasm,” said WVU head coach Reed Sunahara. It just seems like we are uninspired right now. We still have four more matches left. We have a long way to go. We have to get better at our skills, and we have to compete harder.”
Payton Caffrey led the offense with eight kills, while Morgan Montgomery was right behind her with seven. Mia Swanegan notched five kills and Erin Slinde recorded three.
On the defensive side of the match, Gianna Gotterba led with 12 digs. Behind her was Alexa Hasting with six, and Briana Lynch and Caffrey came in right behind Hasting with five digs apiece.
Iowa State took an early 6-2 lead in the beginning of the first set. A kill and a service ace by Caffrey followed by a kill from Natania Levak brought the Mountaineers within 11-9. A Mountaineer attack error and two kills by ISU’s Jess Schaben gave the Cyclones a 19-13 advantage. A 4-0 scoring run late in the set gave Iowa State the 25-18 win and the lead in the match.
Heading into the second set, the teams were tied at three. West Virginia was also able to grab a slight lead, up 7-5, with two kills by Lynch. A 5-0 run by Iowa State put the Cyclones back on top, 12-9. After a Swanegan kill, the Cyclones went on a 4-0 run to give them a 16-10 lead. This was a disadvantage that the Mountaineers couldn’t recover from. A West Virginia attack error brought up set point, and while a Katelyn Evans kill extended the set, Schaben was able to record another kill and ISU took set two, 25-16.
ISU started the third set with an 8-3 lead. After a hard-fought battle, West Virginia brought itself within 12-7. Two consecutive points for WVU brought it even closer to Iowa State, 17-13, but it wasn’t enough. Back-to-back Cyclone kills brought up set point and handed the set, 25-19, to ISU.
Looking ahead, the Mountaineers host Texas Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday.