ISU volleyball hosts Iowa State Challenge, rival Iowa


Kristen Hahn digs the ball up from a spike by a Northern Iowa player in the fourth set of match. The Cyclones went on to win the match 27-25, landing another victory for Iowa State.

Dylan Montz

The No. 18 ISU volleyball team will have a chance to continue playing in front of the Hilton Coliseum crowd as it hosts the annual Iowa State Challenge this weekend.

The Cyclones (3-3, 0-0 Big 12) will take on Eastern Washington and Iowa on Friday and conclude with Syracuse on Saturday. The match against Iowa will be a part of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.

The Hawkeyes currently hold a 2-0 lead against the Cyclones in this year’s Cy-Hawk Series after winning the women’s soccer game last Friday, Aug. 31.

ISU volleyball coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said the rivalry is huge for both universities and means a lot to the players as well.

“It means a lot in terms of recruiting,” Johnson-Lynch said. “[It means a lot] just about your image and what you think you are about. We might be favored at home against Iowa, but it’s one of those matches where you just never quite know. There are so many other things going on and things that can affect the match.”

Last season, the Cyclones defeated the Hawkeyes in straight sets and are currently on a seven-match winning streak.

Junior libero Kristen Hahn said even though Iowa did not recruit her, the rivalry between them is still present. Hahn grew up in Cedar Rapids, just a short drive from Iowa City.

“I know a lot of the girls on Iowa’s team, and it is always nice beating the Hawkeyes,” Hahn said. “Growing up in Cedar Rapids is pretty close to Iowa City, and I get a lot of hard times for it. But we always put the smack down on them, so it is huge [to get those wins].”

Redshirt freshman Tory Knuth, from Johnston, said that playing the Hawkeyes is always an important match for the team and that it will be helpful to play them at home for the second straight year.

“Obviously playing the Hawkeyes is always an exciting game for us,” Knuth said. “It should be a good game, and we will come out pumped just because it is Iowa.”

Iowa State will also play Eastern Washington and Syracuse as part of the Iowa State Challenge.

The Cyclones played the Eagles in 2002, losing in three sets. Iowa State last played Syracuse in 1990, when the two teams split matches.

Johnson-Lynch said Iowa State will have to start getting into a rhythm of playing with a quick offense and good ball-handling as opposed to a game plan that does not fit the personnel as well.

“We don’t necessarily have the horses where we can pass the ball 20 feet off the net and send a sky-ball and hope somebody gets a kill,” Johnson-Lynch said. “That’s just not the team we are. We go when our passing and defense goes.”

Iowa State will face Eastern Washington at 12:30 p.m. Friday and then turn around and face Iowa at 6:30 p.m. The Cyclones last match will be against the Orange at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. All matches will be played at the Hilton Coliseum.