AMES, Iowa – IPFW was at its best, and worst, Thursday.
The Mastodons’ (25-7) season ended in an all-over-the-map 3-2 loss to Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA volleyball tournament.
Eighteenth-ranked Iowa State (21-7) won its 11th straight match and never trailed in the decisive fifth set as the Mastodons could not recapture the sterling form they showed in winning sets 2 and 3.
Iowa State’s Rachel Hockaday closed out the 15-7 win with a kill through a double block.
Iowa State, five days removed from an upset of No. 3 Texas, ran off eight straight points in the opening set to take a 14-5 lead.
The Cyclones never led by less than eight during the 25-11 win.
It was the lowest score of the season in a first-to-25 set for the Mastodons. IPFW committed six attack errors and had no blocks and no aces in the opening set while Iowa State had 14 kills and one error plus four aces.
IPFW, the Summit League tournament champion, responded with a 25-23 win in the second set. The Mastodons went on an 8-2 run to expand its lead to 21-12, but the home team then made a furious but ultimately unsuccessful rally.
Iowa State scored five in a row, including an ace from Alison Landwehr that trickled over the net.
Jessie Manwaring’s kill put the Mastodons ahead 24-20, but Iowa State reeled off three straight before Manwaring found a hole in the middle of Iowa State’s defense for a set-ending kill. Manwaring did not have a kill in the set until the final two points.
The Mastodons, after hitting .054 in the first set, hit .281 in the second while Iowa State’s eight attack errors contributed to a .129 hitting percentage.
The surge continued into the Mastodons’ 25-22 win in the third set. A six-point run put IPFW ahead 12-8 and the Mastodons led the rest of the set.
Iowa State ran off three straight points to pull within 24-22 but the set ended when Andie Malloy’s serve was long.
The Cyclones, buoyed by a nervously cheering home crowd, went on an 8-1 run midway through the fourth set and eventually won 25-13 – IPFW’s second-worst first-to-25 point total of the season.
IPFW libero Tessa McGill set another school record in her final match. Her 20 digs give her 745 for the season. She added to the school’s career digs record, finishing her collegiate career with 2,324.