ISU volleyball to play Colorado in 1st round of NCAA tournament


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

The Cyclone volleyball team reacts to the news of their placement in the NCAA tournament. The team will take on Colorado at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in Minneapolis.

Maddy Arnold

The Cyclones’ first round match in the NCAA tournament will be against a familiar opponent. Iowa State will take on a former-Big 12 conference team in Colorado.

The ISU volleyball team (18-9, 11-5 Big 12) will play Colorado (17-13, 9-11 Pac 12) on Friday in Minneapolis. This tournament appearance will be the eighth straight for the Cyclones under ISU coach Christy Johnson Lynch.

“There is always a point in each season where you wonder if you’re ever going to get to this point. We had our struggles early on and that did cross my mind so we’re not going to take for granted that we’re in. That says a lot about our ability to sustain our program,” Johnson-Lynch said.

No. 10 seed Minnesota is one of the schools that will host the first two rounds in the Lexington regional bracket. This will be the third time in four years that Iowa State will play an NCAA tournament match at Minnesota.

“I’m just excited to go back,” said senior libero Kristen Hahn. “We always bring a good crowd and its close for us. I’m just excited. It’s a great place to play volleyball.”

Iowa State has an all-time record of 17-39 against Colorado. During the 2010 season, Colorado’s last year in the Big 12, the Cyclones defeated the Buffaloes twice.

After coaching for nine seasons at Iowa State, Colorado is a familiar opponent for Johnson-Lynch. Despite having plenty of experience with the Buffaloes, Johnson-Lynch said they would be a completely different team since the last time they’ve played.

“We don’t know much about Colorado so I think it’s real exciting and fun to play someone you’re not that familiar with. We’ll certainly be doing our homework over the next week,” Johnson-Lynch said. “It’s been a long time. It’s a new coach. It’s a new roster.”

Hahn and senior middle blocker Tenisha Matlock are the only two players on Iowa State’s roster that played Colorado when it was still in the Big 12. They were freshmen when they faced the Buffaloes.

Hahn, however, said she has more recent experience with Colorado. She played in USA volleyball’s A2 program with Colorado’s Tayor Simpson last summer.

Simpson leads Colorado in kills per set with 3.64. She also averages 2.66 digs per set and has 63 total blocks on the season.  

“She’s a great all-around outside hitter,” Hahn said. “I’m sure she’s their go to. I know she’s a solid player.”