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Volleyball: ISU Comes Back To Beat UNC, Advances To Sweet 16

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AMES, Iowa Two nights, two rousing comebacks.

One long exhale for the Iowa State women's volleyball team and another trip to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.

"Once again, this was just a grind it out, figure out how to win (match)," said Cyclone coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, whose team outlasted North Carolina in five sets (25-22, 18-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-13) to win a tense second-round match before an amped up crowd of 2,702 at Hilton Coliseum. "A lot of good performances."

The Cyclones (22-7) won a school-record 12th straight match and advanced at least to the regional semifinals for the fifth time in the past sixth seasons.

Thursday, ISU rebounded from being down 2-1 to Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne.

"I figured if we could get it to a fifth game, we've got it," Johnson-Lynch said. "Not that I wasn't stressed out and nervous."

Cyclone junior Tenisha Matlock notched a career-high four solo blocks at key times and led her team in kills with 12.

"Christy helped me this week, reminding me to be dynamic in everything I do," said Matlock, who hit .379 in the match.

Andie Malloy added 11 kills with eight coming in the first game.

Former Williamsburg standout Mackenzie Bigbee notched 10 kills, along with Victoria Hurtt.

ISU recorded a season-high eight blocks and overcame low hitting percentages in two sets, while finishing at .300 or better while winning the final two.

"Tremendous," Johnson-Lynch said of the blocks.

The Cyclones also out-dug the Tarheels, 89-73.

Former Kennedy star Kristen Hahn recorded a match-high 28 digs along with 10 assists.

"We just were relentless," said Hahn, a two-time Big 12 libero of the year. "We trust each other so much and have total faith in each other. We know if there's a ball around us we're going to get it up."

Iowa State won a tense opening set, 25-22.

Jamie Straube used a strategically placed tip kill to put away the set, which featured eight ties.

The Tarheels (26-6) seized control of the second set early, building leads of 10-5 and 21-11 before winning, 25-18.

The Cyclones struggled attacking in set two, managing just a .121 hitting percentage.

It got worse in the third set, where ISU dipped to .024 on the attack, and fell behind 2-1.

"It looked pretty dismal there for a while," Johnson-Lynch said.

Not in the end thanks in part to the fan support.

"Same as last night, they helped carry us through," Hahn said.

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