COMMENTARY: Landwehr’s continued success is vital

Alison+Landwehr+jumps+to+hit+the+ball+during+the+game+against%C2%A0Nebraska+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+15%2C+at+Hilton+Coliseum.+Cyclones+won+3-1%2C+which+is+the+first+time+Cyclone+volleyball+team+has+defeated+a+No.+1+team+in+school+history.%C2%A0%0A

Alison Landwehr jumps to hit the ball during the game against Nebraska on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Hilton Coliseum. Cyclones won 3-1, which is the first time Cyclone volleyball team has defeated a No. 1 team in school history. 

Dylan Montz

With the offensive threats that Iowa State possesses this season, it is almost a dream for setter Alison Landwehr.

On any given night, Landwehr is capable of feeding the ball to hitters Mackenzie Bigbee, Rachel Hockaday and Victoria Hurtt. Landwehr has come a long way at the setter position since coming to Iowa State as a freshman.

“When she was a freshman, she didn’t even set on the second side all that much,” said ISU coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. “The game seemed to be moving too fast for her. She learned a lot from [former ISU setter] Kaylee Manns just about decision-making and how to compete.

“She’s come a long way since her freshman year technically, but what I think it’s about at this level is decision-making and leadership, and that’s where I’ve seen huge strides.”

As a freshman playing behind Manns, Landwehr tallied 18 assists. But when the St. Louis native took over the starting setter position in 2010, her assists climbed to 1,248 for the year and in 2011 reached 1,283.

Landwehr has notched 514 assists so far in 2012, and for Iowa State to have an opportunity to win the Big 12 and go on to the postseason, she will have to continue to put up big numbers night in and night out in a deep Big 12 Conference.

“My main [goal] is just trying to be consistent this year and continuing to get better and keep our hitters one-on-one,” Landwehr said. “I thought there were a lot of opportunities where [against Baylor] we had split blocks or one-on-one opportunities. That makes me feel good about what I’m doing, and [I’m] just trying to keep working hard.”

Johnson-Lynch feels that Landwehr, who was a first-team All-American in 2011, is playing on an even higher level than last season.

Landwehr has developed vision of where and when the opposing team is setting up a block and has the instinct to possibly set the ball back to a hitter in an open net, creating a greater opportunity to register a kill. She has also implemented the dump kill into her game, something that had not been as present during her first three years at Iowa State.

“I think it’s just getting the feel for it,” Landwehr said of developing a more dynamic offensive instinct. “I think now I know where to run our hitters to open up other hitters and how to spread the ball and make better decisions.”

Landwehr is ranked third for all-time assists in her ISU career with 3,063, and for Landwehr to lead the team to places it hasn’t been before, such as a Big 12 Championship or the Final Four, she will have to continue to be the catalyst for a Cyclone offense with multiple weapons.

“As Alison goes, we go,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Dylan Montz is a junior in journalism from Mechanicsville, Iowa.