Berkeley Bound Cyclones Play No. 2 Stanford
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AMES, Iowa – No. 18 Iowa State (22-7, 13-3 Big 12) will face its staunchest test of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night, taking on No. 2 Stanford (29-3, 19-1 Pac-12) in the NCAA Regional Semifinals. The Cyclones are one of seven teams to reach the regional semifinal round in five of the last six seasons.
The 2012 Iowa State squad is on a 12-match winning streak as it takes on the Cardinal, who swept both its first and second round opponents while the Cyclones played five sets in each of their matches last weekend in Ames.
Junior middle blocker Tenisha Matlock has been the most consistent producer for Iowa State in the early tournament, hitting .426 and collecting 1.10 blocks per set, including a career-best four solo blocks against North Carolina while pacing the offense with 12 kills.
Stanford has swept its last three opponents, in direct contrast to Iowa State’s three-consecutive five-setters, dropping just two sets during its current five-match winning streak. In the first two rounds of postseason play, the Cardinal is hitting .361, led by middle blocker Inky Ajanaku’s .524 offensive clip.
A strong presence at the net, Anjanaku is blocking 1.83 balls per set during tournament play and Stanford is getting more than a block per set also from Carly Wopat (1.50) and Rachel Williams (1.17). As a team, Stanford blocked 3.83 balls per set against Jackson State and No. 17 Western Kentucky, nearly 1.00 blocks more per set than its season average of 2.92 blocks per set.
The Berkeley Regional kicks off with an all-Big Ten match between Michigan State and Michigan at 7 p.m. CST on Friday, followed by Iowa State and Stanford at 9 p.m. CST on ESPN3. The winners of the regional semifinal matches will play Saturday, Dec. 8, at 10:30 p.m. CST on ESPNU.
• Iowa State went the distance against No. 24 North Carolina on Friday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will play No. 2 Stanford in the NCAA regional semifinal round at 9 p.m. CST on Friday, Dec. 7, in Berkeley, Calif.
• Iowa State is one of seven schools to make five of the last six regional semifinals (Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State, Stanford, Texas).
• Friday’s match will be the 13th for the Cyclones against a ranked opponent this season, tying a program record set in 1996.
• Iowa State went undefeated in November and enters Friday’s match on a record 12-match winning streak.
• The Cyclones, who downed No. 1 Nebraska and No. 5 Texas this season, have never beaten three top-5 teams in a single season.
• The win over the Tar Heels secured a 14-1 home season for Iowa State.
• In six postseason matches at Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones are 6-0 with four sweeps and two five-set wins.
• The Cyclones have played in three-straight five-setters, the first time the team has gone five sets in back-to-back-to-back matches since 1993.
• The last time Iowa State won the last three five-set matches it played was in 2009.
• Mackenzie Bigbee recorded 10 kills against UNC, bringing her total for the season to 304 kills and becoming just the second freshman in Iowa State history to post more than 300 kills in a season. Rachel Hockaday had 353 kills in 2008.
• Senior Alison Landwehr had 40 assists in the second round win, crossing the 3,800 assists mark and counting 3,839 assists in her career.
• The St. Louis, Mo. native has 20 matches this season with at least 40 assists.
• Kristen Hahn’s had 28 digs against UNC, her 17th match with more than 20 digs and eight with more than 25.
• Junior middle blocker Tenisha Matlock had a career-best four solo blocks against North Carolina.
• Tory Knuth came off the bench for seven kills, four blocks (2 solo, 2 assists) and five digs.
Streaks and Trends
• Iowa State opponents have hit over .300 just 19 times in 252 matches under Johnson-Lynch.
• Iowa State is 11-2 in three-set matches in 2012. Under Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State is 99-32 in three set matches.
• Behind Johnson-Lynch’s leadership, the Cyclones win 88% (139-19) 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 eight seasons and have defeated at least two top 25 teams in each of the last six seasons.
• Hahn is on a 39-match streak of 10 or more digs, including 17 matches this season of 20 digs and three of 30. The junior is the only Big 12 player with 30 or more digs in three league matches.
Scouting No. 2 Stanford
• The Cardinal defeated swept both Jackson State and No. 17 Western Kentucky to advance to the Sweet 16.
• Stanford is 29-3 this season with loses to No. 8 Hawai’i, No. 4 Penn State and No. 8 USC.
• Carly Wopat leads the Cardinal with 2.85 kills per set and a .400 hitting percentage. She is also tops in blocking with 1.45 blocks per set.
• Inky Ajanaku is hitting .376 and averaging 1.21 blocks per set this season.
• Wopat and Ajanaku’s net dominance is leading Stanford to a 2.93-1.68 blocking advantage against opponents this season.
• Stanford has split time this season running both a 5-1 and 6-2 offense, but has run primarily a 5-1 in recent matches.
• Primary setter Madi Bugg averages 8.14 assists per set; Karissa Cook averages 5.33 assists per set.
• The squad digs 17.26 balls per set, led by Kyle Gilbert’s 4.52 digs per set.