Analysis: Volleyball exhibition win over No. 18 Creighton shows young Cyclone team is ready for 2019

Iowa State has seven freshmen on roster for the 2019 season. They are: Kate Shannon (front far left), Abriana Lemke (front middle), Jaiden Centeno (front right), Kenzie Mantz (back right), Annie Hatch (back middle right), Abby Greiman (back middle left) and Michal Schuler (back left). With only four upperclassmen on roster, Iowa State’s freshmen could carve out a role on the team early in the season.

Jack Shover

Iowa State volleyball defeated No. 18 Creighton 3-2 in an exhibition Friday displaying that despite the team’s youth this coming season  Iowa State will field a competitive roster in 2019.

Iowa State and Creighton played five sets despite the Cyclones capturing the first three sets of the match.

Iowa State took the sets 26-24, 25-19 and 25-21 before Creighton won the next two 25-22 and 15-11.

Iowa State struggled last season taking the second set, but they had no issues against the Bluejays.

Creighton made it to the NCAA Tournament last season and finished the season with a record of 29-5. Both teams met in the beginning of the 2018 season, which Creighton won 3-0.

Both teams then faced again in a scrimmage in the spring, which Iowa State struggled in, according to coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. The second time around, the roster — which consists of only four upperclassmen and seven freshmen — was more than prepared after a trip to South America.

In Argentina, Iowa State scrimmaged teams from across the country and in Iowa State’s first game below the equator the Cyclones faced the Argentinian national team, which at the time was No. 10 in the world according to Johnson-Lynch.

Argentina narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympics and also finished with a bronze medal at the Pan-American games.

Against some of the best teams in the world, Johnson-Lynch’s squad was weathered and able to develop chemistry.

As a result, the seven freshmen on the team have quickly found themselves in contention for playing time.

In Friday night’s game, freshman outside hitter Annie Hatch made an early impact on the attack. With a high point of contact and a strong arm, Hatch was able to avoid the Bluejay’s block and register kills for an Iowa State team, which lost two of its biggest point scorers in Jess Schaben and Grace Lazard. Both Schaben and Lazard graduated in the spring.

With those players gone, Johnson-Lynch said there are players who could potentially fill the role as Iowa State’s go-to option on the attack. With how quickly the freshmen are settling in to Iowa State’s system, players like Hatch will be a part of the solution.

Despite the young roster, the Cyclones will face Ole Miss and Central Florida at the Rebel Invitational at Ole Miss — both of which are winnable games for the Cyclones.

Ole Miss went 14-18 last season and fell to Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum 3-0 while Central Florida went 27-4 and fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Florida Gulf Coast.