Volleyball preps for fall season, only graduates two players

Maddy Arnold

The ISU volleyball team began its 2013-14 season ranked No. 15 in the country. After winning its first tournament, the UND Classic, Iowa State jumped to No. 11 in the polls.

After starting the season with four straight wins, the Cyclones went on to lose four out of their next five matches. Soon after, Iowa State dropped out of the polls for the first time in 69 consecutive weeks. The streak started during the 2009 season when the Cyclones debuted at No. 13.

Iowa State rebounded with a seven-match winning streak in the end of the season. In that time, it swept five of its opponents and finished the regular season 19-9.

Throughout the season, Iowa State relied on the play of senior libero Kristen Hahn. She led the Big 12 and finished third nationally in digs per set with 5.71.

Iowa State made it to the NCAA tournament with a first-round appearance in Minneapolis. Hahn’s defense, however, was not enough to propel the Cyclones to a tournament win. Iowa State dropped its first-round match to an unranked Colorado, 3-1.

One bright spot for Iowa State was the play of underclassmen hitters Ciara Capezio and Mackenzie Bigbee. Capezio, a true freshman, started 26 matches and played in all of Iowa State’s 28 matches in the 2013-14 season.

Capezio’s biggest impact came from the service line. She led the team in service aces with 35 on the season. But Capezio was not the only ISU player to impress with her serve. Teammate Tory Knuth — who finished just behind Capezio in aces last season with 34 — led the Big 12 in aces per set with .4.

The other underclassman standout for Iowa State last season was Bigbee. The sophomore started all 28 matches for the Cyclones and led multiple statistical categories.

Bigbee was the best attacker on the team, averaging more than three kills per set. She finished the season with 324 kills. Bigbee also led the team in total attacks and finished with a .256 hitting percentage.

Iowa State will return the underclassmen hitters along with all but two Cyclones from last season’s roster. Iowa State will begin its season on Aug. 28 against Stanford and then face Florida State on Aug. 31.