Czech Republic Defeats ISU in Five Sets
PRAGUE, Czech Republic – The Iowa State volleyball team played the first match of their tour of Europe Saturday at PVK Olymp Praha as the Cyclones took on a team of players from the Czech Republic’s World University Games squad. The Czechs pulled out the victory in five sets, 25-17, 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 16-18.
The Czechs controlled the first set most of the way. After a Victoria Hurtt kill put the Cyclones within three at 11-8, CZR went on a 4-0 run to suddenly be ahead 15-8 and forcing ISU into an early second timeout. The Cyclones came out of the break with three consecutive points, but the Czechs were able to piece together another three consecutive points to restore most of their lead. The Czechs dominated the service game in the first set with eight aces and finished the 25-17 set off with another one.
The Cyclones showed they were up for it in the second set as ISU got ahead in the early portions of the set and held the lead for the majority of the set. Iowa State looked well on their way to a set victory at 18-14, but the Czechs took advantage of some ISU errors to put together a 5-0 run to move ahead again. CZR was edging ahead at 23-22, but made a pair of untimely errors and Natalie Vondrak put away the first set point to give ISU set two at 25-23.
Iowa State got off to a disastrous start in set three, as the Czech Republic took the first five points of the set. Down 7-1, a Ciara Capezio kill brought Morgan Kuhrt back to serve and she led ISU into constructing a 7-0 run that included two kills and a solo block from setter Suzanne Horner to put Iowa State ahead 9-8. The Cyclones stayed ahead, but could not gain too much ground. However, after a Czech service error made it 16-14 ISU, Victoria Hurtt took over. The senior was responsible for scoring Iowa State’s next five points, three via kills and two via solo blocks that put Iowa State ahead 22-14 and eventually on to the set win at 25-19.
The fourth set belonged mostly to the Czech squad. CZR scored the first three points of the set and went most of the set without losing their advantage. The only ISU lead came at about the halfway point as a 3-0 run capped off by a Samara West kill gave ISU a 16-15 advantage. However, the Czechs struck back with a 3-0 run of their own to take back the lead. A Hurtt kill fought of CZR’s first set point, but Hurtt’s second attempt at extending the set was blocked and the Czechs forced a fifth set at 25-23.
Once again in the fifth, the Czechs took the early lead and quickly built up a 7-2 lead. However, ISU was able to rebuild and eventually reduce the Czech advantage to 11-10. With match point at 14-11, ISU saved three match points via kills from Mackenzie Bigbee, West and Hurtt. A Czech attack error gave ISU a match point, but back-to-back kills put the pressure back on Iowa State. Another Hurtt kill fought off a fourth match point, but the Czech’s regained control and closed out the set at 18-16.
Iowa State will play its second match of the tour in Prague tomorrow against the Czech Republic Junior National Team.