ISU volleyball’s blocking improves with impending match against No. 3 Texas


Senior Tenisha Matlock is on the attack against Kansas State on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Hilton Coliseum.

Clint Cole

Now more than halfway through their regular season schedule, Iowa State has had its problems blocking but has shown improvement during the last couple of matches.

So far this season, the ISU volleyball team ranks dead last in the Big 12 in blocks with 1.61 per set. This is more than one block per set lower than the Big 12 leader Kansas, which has 2.78 blocks per set.

The noticeable improvement happened first in the third set of the Cyclones’ match against Kansas State at Hilton Coliseum on Oct. 9. They had just 3.5 team blocks through two sets against the Wildcats before putting up three more in the third set to bring their total to 6.5 for the match.

In their next match, against West Virginia, the Cyclones had eight team blocks in a sweep of the Mountaineers. ISU coach Christy Johnson-Lynch believes that the improvement is largely because of the work they have been doing in practice.

“We’ve just been working on it, we’ve talked about it technically, we’re watching a lot of film, trying to make some adjustments,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We’ve been talking about just being more aggressive, that we feel like we’re more physical than what we’ve been showing in our blocking stats, so just encouraging them to let go a little bit and be a little more aggressive.”

ISU senior middle blocker Tenisha Matlock also said she believes the biggest contribution to their improved blocking is what they have done in practice.

“The biggest thing is just coming to practice and then having good drills specifically just for blocking allowing us to work with our coaches and having them see our hands and which way they’re facing, if we’re closing if we’re not closing,” Matlock said.

Matlock leads the Cyclones so far this year with 38 blocks and averages 0.73 per set.

Johnson-Lynch said it is something they want to work on but not obsess over it and “get too mental” about it.

“You really want to address it and meet it head on but yet you can’t start freaking out about it,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Matlock said that it is sometimes hard to work on it without obsessing over it.

“Just from a middle standpoint because we’re going both sides, but it still works out in the long run,” Matlock said. “The more tired you get, that’s where you really need to push and focus in because in a game that’s what it’s going to transition as.”

Johnson-Lynch said she thinks the improvement she’s seen over the last couple of matches will carry over into their match this Saturday against No. 3 Texas in Austin.

“I think our trend is now we’re blocking more balls, and I think that will continue,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We’ll have lot of days to work on it this week. Blocking doesn’t necessarily change with who you’re playing. … Texas is going to hit the ball very, very hard so if they hit our block it might go down harder than maybe if we were playing against someone who hits the ball a little bit softer. I think physically we match up very well with Texas, and I think we have a great chance to continue our improvement in our block.”