Cyclones show strong offense in Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage


Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily

Freshman outside hitter and middle blocker Alexis Conaway goes for a kill during the Cardinal & Gold scrimmage on Aug. 23.

Harrison March

Aug. 23’s Cardinal and Gold Volleyball Scrimmage was loaded with impressive performances from a variety of Cyclones, both old and new.

Familiar faces like former American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American Honorable Mention selections Mackenzie Bigbee and Victoria Hurtt along with sophomore Ciara Capezio combined for 50 of the match’s 116 kills.

While the offensive prowess was certainly on display, the Cardinal and Gold teams also tallied 10 blocks, something on which the Cyclones have recently placed emphasis.

“We played at a really high level,” Capezio said. “We’ve been working on our blocking these last two weeks and I think it showed a lot. I still need to work on it, but I think as a team it’s gotten so much better and we can still take it to the next level.”

Sophomore transfer Suzanne Horner, who had a promising start to her ISU career in the spring exhibition season, racked up 15 digs and a match-high 48 assists.

“I started off with a couple of nerves, but once those settled it was a lot of fun getting to know what the atmosphere is going to be like in [Hilton Coliseum],” Horner said. “It was more of a real match setting, so it was good.”

Freshman Alexis Conaway also turned heads, totaling 14 kills and a .667 hitting percentage. Conaway, like most players on the team, rotated with both the Cardinal and Gold squads in the scrimmage. In her time spent on the Cardinal side of the net, she converted nine kills on nine attempts.

Though the Orange City, Iowa, native has yet to see collegiate competition, head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch is happy with how Conaway is playing in the preseason.

“She had a couple ‘wow’ moments,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I didn’t know how she would do her first time out, but I thought she stepped it up.”

As for which newly-enlisted player made the biggest splash, Johnson-Lynch gave the nod to the freshman.

“Alexis Conaway would be the one that stands out,” Johnson-Lynch said. “You don’t even really have to know our team to be impressed with her athleticism. You can just watch her and be pretty impressed with some of the things she does. I think she made a pretty good case for herself today.”

Though questions on how to replace last year’s seniors loomed in the offseason, Johnson-Lynch and the ISU volleyball team seem to have found a groove heading into the regular season.

“I thought it was a pretty high level of play on both sides,” Johnson-Lynch said. “It was just good volleyball. Some years you come in here and it’s not very good volleyball that first match of the year, so I enjoyed seeing that.”

The ISU volleyball team begins its regular season Aug. 29 when it plays host to No. 3 Stanford. It will then have an Aug. 31 showdown with No. 13 Florida State as part of the AVCA Showcase.