LINCOLN, Neb. - The Northern Iowa volleyball team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row, sweeping Kansas State in convincing fashion Thursday night inside NU Coliseum, 25-18, 25-13, 25-21.
Krista DeGeest, Megan Lehman and Macy Ubben each charted 11 kills to lead the Panthers (25-9), who move on to face 10th-ranked and fourth-seeded Nebraska at 7 p.m. tonight. The Cornhuskers (24-6) hammered Maryland-Eastern Shore in three, 25-14, 25-10, 25-18.
Northern Iowa's sweep of the Wildcats was just the fourth time Kansas State (21-9) was defeated 3-0 this season. It's only the third time in K-State's 14 NCAA tournament appearances that the team did not advance to the second round.
"I thought that Northern Iowa was incredibly well prepared, I thought they played really well," said Wildcats head coach Suzie Fritz. "We struggled getting balls to the floor; defensively they played phenomenally and offensively played really well.
"They were in system the majority of the time and I thougth we got outplayed in every facet of the game, frankly."
Northern Iowa finished with a .321 hitting percentage for the night, including a .424 mark in the opening set. The Panthers jumped out to lead the first two matches but K-State tried to rally at the onset of game three. UNI used a 9-3 run to break an 8-all tie and take control of the final set.
Setter Molly Turk had 36 assists and 14 digs, while Candice Burke added 13 digs. Ubben, a junior outside hitter and AGWSR High School graduate, led the team with one solo block and two assists.
Tonight's second-round NCAA tournament match will be the last ever inside NU Coliseum.
Iowa State 3, IPFW 2
AMES - The 18th-ranked Iowa State volleyball team needed five sets but will be playing in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Cyclones dominated three games in the match and moved on to face North Carolina after dumping the Mastadons 25-11, 23-25, 22-25, 25-13, 15-7 at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones and Tar Heels will play at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Ames. No. 24 North Carolina (26-5) beat Cal in four games.
"What a great match, what a crazy match," Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. "IPFW is such a good team, they're very scrappy. I think we were a little caught off guard and surprised by how many times they kept the ball alive."
Senior Jamie Straube led the way for the Cyclones with a match-high 16 kills, while Victoria Hurtt added 12 kills. Tenisha Matlock and Andie Malloy also had 11 kills as Iowa State (21-7) tied a program record with its 11th straight win.
Kristen Hahn recorded her 16th match of 20-plus digs this season, finishing with 24 on the night. Alison Landwehr had 56 assists and 13 digs for the Cyclones, while Rachel Hockaday added 12 digs.
Emily Spencer led the Mastadons with 13 kills, while Megan Steenhuysen added 37 assists and 13 digs. IPFW is the only team to ever win a postseason set against Iowa State in Ames.
"There was a lot of pressure on us, and I think that was a courageous performance for us there at the end," Johnson-Lynch said.