Cyclones, Gophers Meet Friday In Sweet 16
AMES, Iowa - The No. 4 seed Cyclones (24-5) travel to Minneapolis, Minn. this weekend and will play No. 13 seed Minnesota on Friday night in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 at the Sports Pavilion. First serve is set for 7 p.m. CDT.
The Cyclones and Gophers (20-11) have not played since2009, when Minnesota walked away with the 3-2 victory, and a season before, in 2008, Iowa State downed NCAA second round host Minnesota in five sets to advance to the Sweet 16. Although the all-time series heavily favors the Gophers, 22-9 all-time against Iowa State, the teams have played five sets in each of their last six meetings and seven of their last eight dating back to 1987.
After rolling past Milwaukee and Miami (FL) last weekend at home, the Cyclones will lean on veteran players against the Gophers, including middle blocker Jamie Straube who hit .490 in the first weekend of postseason with a team-high average of 4.50 kills per set. Straube leads the team with 1.17 blocks per set during tournament play as well.
Although the Gophers have struggled at times this season, including losses to unranked Kansas and Northwestern, the home team will not go away quietly, as showcased by their come-from-behind win over Washington in the second round last weekend. Minnesota trailed 0-2 in the match before taking the next three sets for the 3-2 win to advance to the regional round. Ashley Wittman is the key for Minnesota, averaging 4.51 kills per set this season and compiling more than 1,300 swings. By comparison, Iowa State's leading attacker, Carly Jenson, has 1,102 attacks on the year.
Friday's match between Iowa State and Minnesota will follow the match-up between No.5 seed Purdue and No. 12 seed Florida State, which begins at 5 p.m. All-session tickets are on sale now at 1-800-UGOPHER and at mygophersports.com (click here). Single-session tickets will go on sale at the Minnesota Athletics Ticket Office this weekend.
- Iowa State defeated No. 25 Miami (FL) on Saturday, 3-0, to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 where the Cyclones will play 13th-seed Minnesota at 7 p.m. CDT on Friday night at the Sports Pavilion. The winner of Friday's match will play Florida State or Purdue for a spot in the Final Four.
- This is Iowa State's fourth trip to the Sweet 16 in five years.
- The Cyclones are 6-0 in NCAA matches at Hilton Coliseum and 11-6 all-time in NCAA tournament play.
- Iowa State has not dropped a set through the first two rounds of postseason play.
- The win over Miami is the fourth win for Iowa State over a top 25 team this season, one shy of the record number of wins over ranked opponents, set in 2007.
- The Hurricanes are the ninth ranked team Iowa State has swept in program history.
- Miami's 10 points against Iowa State in the second set of their second round match ties a season-low for a Cyclone opponent in a 25-point set.
- 10 points is also a program-low for Miami since the rejuvenation of the program in 2001.
- Iowa State hit .328 against the Hurricanes, the 11th time this season the team has hit for a .300 average.
- Miami, who hit just .087 on Saturday, is the seventh team this season to hit under .100 against Iowa State.
- Middle blocker Jamie Straube is hitting .490 this postseason, scoring 4.50 kills per set. Both numbers lead the team.
- The rest of the team is hitting .215 through the first two rounds.
- The Tecumseh, Neb. native is also tearing it up on defense, with seven total blocks for an average of 1.17 blocks per set.
- Both Milwaukee and Miami made efforts to avoid Big 12 Libero of the Year Kristen Hahn last weekend. Hahn, who averaged 5.54 digs per set during the regular season, is down to 4.67 digs per set in postseason.
- Rachel Hockaday, Carly Jenson and Alison Landwehr are covering the floor well when teams aim to avoid Hahn, averaging 2.83, 2.67 and 2.50 digs per set, respectively.
- Freshmen Hannah Willms and Victoria Hurtt are getting their first taste of the postseason, both players seeing action during the first weekend. Willms averaged 3.33 kills per set with one solo block and one block assist against Milwaukee and Hurtt had 10 kills and two block assists against Miami.
- Straube and Kelsey Petersen currently rank second and third, respectively, in the Iowa State history books for best hitting percentage in a single season. Straube is hitting .338 and Petersen is hitting .336 this season.
- Hockaday's serving prowess has been on display this season as the redshirt junior has a serve percentage of .981, currently ranked second all-time at Iowa State.
- At a clip of 5.47 digs per set this season, Hahn is not only the second Cyclone in program history to ever post more than 5.00 digs per set in a single season but her average of 5.49 digs per set this season sits second heading into Saturday's match behind Ashley Mass' 5.49 digs per set average set in 2009. (Mass is first because she has the edge in sets played, 107-103).
- Hahn's 565 digs this season is the fifth-most by a Cyclone in a single season in program history. Mass and Steph McCannon are the only other Cyclones to read over 560 digs in a single season.
Streaks and Trends
- Iowa State opponents have hit over .300 just 15 times in 221 matches under Johnson-Lynch.
- Iowa State went 12-1 in three set matches in 2010. Under Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State is 89-32 in three set matches.
- This year the Cyclones are 14-3 in three-set matches, losing at No. 15, UNI, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 9 Texas.
- In true Johnson-Lynch fashion, Iowa State has out-dug 25 of its opponents this season.
- Behind Johnson-Lynch's leadership, the Cyclones win 88% (122-16) of their matches when earning the first set victory.
- Iowa State has collected 20 wins in five-consecutive seasons under head coach Johnson-Lynch. The Cyclones have had 11 20+ win seasons since 1982.
- Under Johnson-Lynch, the Cyclones have won at least one match over a top 25 opponent in each of her seven seasons and have defeated at least two top 25 teams in each of the last five seasons.
- With the win over Miami in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the Cyclones are one win over a top 25 team away from tying 2007 for the most wins over ranked foes (5).
- This season, six players have led the Cyclones in kills during a match. Only three players ever led the team in kills in 2010.
- The Gophers lead the all-time series with Iowa State, 22-9 and took a four-set win over the Cyclones in the last meeting between the squads, in 2009.
- Iowa State is 1-1 against Minnesota under Christy Johnson-Lynch.
- Minnesota, 20-11 on the season, defeated North Dakota State, 3-0, in the first round of the tournament and came back from an 0-2 hole against No. 11 Washington to advance to Friday's Sweet 16 match with the Cyclones.
- Minnesota advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2010 before being swept by No. 4 California.
- The Gophers are led in kills this season by Ashley Wittman who is averaging 4.51 kills per set. Wittman is by far the Gophers' go-to weapon on offense, swinging 1,356 times this year.
- Setter Mia Tabberson is one of the top players at her position in the country this season, averaging 12.15 assists per set through Minnesota's two tournament wins.
- Blocking is Minnesota's weak spot this season as the team has averaged only 1.92 blocks per set, much lower than its opponents' average of 2.57 blocks per set.
- However, the Gophers dig balls at a rate of 15.98 digs per set and have held foes to .204 hitting on the year.
- The Gophers are 7-9 this season against top 25 teams with wins over No. 4 Texas (twice) and at No. 3 Illinois. Minnesota lost twice to Nebraska and Penn State.
- Minnesota has also posted two losses to unranked teams this season: Kansas and Northwestern.