ISU volleyball falls to 4-2 record with loss to No. 18 Illinois


Right side hitter Mackenzie Bigbee hits a set over the net and past her single blocker. Bigbee had 14 of the total 34 kills by Iowa State in the match up.

Clint Cole

It looked like the ball was rolling for the Cyclones with four straight wins to start the season, but the momentum was brought to a halt as they dropped two matches in their first two home appearances of the year.

The No. 11 Cyclones (4-2) lost to No. 18 Illinois (3-2) in straight sets on Sunday at Hilton Coliseum for their second-straight loss this weekend at the Iowa State Challenge. ISU coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said the team was “disappointed” in how they played this weekend.

“I think we were just most disappointed that we had two great teams, a great opportunity in Hilton, great crowds and we didn’t show them what we could do,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We were not good.”

Mackenzie Bigbee said she thought the Cyclones didn’t have passion in Sunday’s match and weren’t getting excited after points.

“One or two points, maybe we would get excited but for the most part I thought we just lacked the enthusiasm,” Bigbee said. “Maybe because when we played San Diego that rattled us a little bit, we weren’t really ready. We weren’t expecting that fast of an offense.”

Bigbee had a bounce-back game in the loss recording 14 kills with a .286 hit percentage after having just three kills with a -.056 hit percentage against San Diego on Friday. Bigbee said that getting excited is something that they can work on in practice.

“Just really work on celebrating after every point and just having fun because everyone plays their best when they’re having fun,” Bigbee said.

Kristen Hahn said they need to remember that “this isn’t a job” after the match on Sunday.

“It’s a sport that we love and we get to come out and play in front of a huge fan base and our families and stuff like that,” Hahn said.

The Cyclones had control at some point in all three sets before losing each one. 

The Cyclones led 15-11 in the first set before losing 25-23, they were down just 18-16 in set two before losing 25-19 and then in the third set they were tied at 11 with the Illini before losing 25-16.

“What we talked about in the locker room was ‘we’ve got the pieces.’ You could see we were right there with them until about the middle of each game and then they would break away,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We’ve got pieces we just aren’t putting those pieces together for long stretches. We’ve got great flashes but we’re not putting it together for long stretches.”

The Cyclones will be back in action Thursday in Lincoln, Neb., at the Ameritas Player’s Challenge where they will play Dayton. 

They will also play St. Mary’s (Calif.) and No. 13 Nebraska in Lincoln.