ISU volleyball to conclude regular season at Kansas State

Mike Randleman

After an emotional loss on senior night to No. 1 Texas on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the No. 25 ISU volleyball team will try to regroup for its regular season finale at Kansas State.

The Cyclones (18-8, 11-4 Big 12) will travel to Manhattan, Kan. to take on the Wildcats (17-11, 5-10 Big 12) on Saturday, Nov. 30.

Though Wednesday’s loss to Texas likely ended any sliver of hope Iowa State had of hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, the team’s final regular season match still holds importance.

“I think Saturday night’s match is very important for seeding purposes,” said ISU coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. “I don’t think we’ll need to be motivated, I think we’ll be plenty motivated. We know it’s a tough place to play and it’s an important match for a lot of reasons.”

With a win at Kansas State and a Kansas loss to Oklahoma, Iowa State would finish in a tie for second place with Kansas in the Big 12.

Saturday’s match will also have an impact on the team’s RPI ranking (22nd as of Nov. 25), a key determinant when it comes to the team’s seed for the NCAA tournament.

Senior libero Kristen Hahn admitted losing her final match at Hilton Coliseum was tough to swallow, but looks forward to finishing out the regular season and feels fortunate to have a chance to compete in the NCAAs for a final time.

“There are teams around the nation that don’t have the opportunity to have a tournament bid, so we’ll just continue to work hard,” Hahn said.

Senior middle blocker Tenisha Matlock believes the team’s loss to Texas will provide areas to improve as the season winds down.

“It kind of shows us things we can work on and areas we can improve on, as well,” Matlock said. “How to be able to switch it from there and turn it into a positive can be a learning experience.”

The Cyclones’ road match will feature two of the top servers in the conference, pitting Tory Knuth, of Iowa State (first in the Big 12 with 0.43 service aces/set), against Kaitlynn Pelger, of Kansas State (third with 0.35/set).

Kansas State is 8-2 at home on the season, but Iowa State defeated the Wildcats earlier this season 3-0 on Oct. 9 in Ames. First serve will be at 7 p.m. at Ahearn Field House.