Nebraska ties resonate for Cyclones’ upcoming match


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Middle blocker Jamie Straube goes up for a kill against Miami on Saturday, Dec. 3, during the second round of the NCAA Volleyball Championship. Straube lead the team in kills and points with a total of 12 kills and 14 points throughout the match.

Dylan Montz

Since leaving the Big 12 Conference for the Big Ten in 2010, Nebraska has not yet paid a visit to Hilton Coliseum to face the ISU volleyball team — at least not until this Saturday afternoon.

For the Nebraska natives on the ISU roster, the match between the No. 1 Cornhuskers (8-0, 0-0 Big Ten) and the No. 25 Cyclones (5-4, 0-0 Big 12) holds somewhat of a sentimental value.

For middle blocker Jamie Straube, a Tecumseh, Neb., native who was not offered a scholarship from the Cornhuskers, memories of volleyball in Nebraska were present in her childhood.

“It’s always a great match, and I grew up watching the Huskers play so that’s kind of what got me started in volleyball,” Straube said. “I love the sport, so playing them is always a fun match and we always have a lot of family that are watching. I have friends that follow Nebraska volleyball and then now follow Iowa State since I came here.”

Straube said that during her college selection process, even though she looked at Nebraska, Iowa State was the right choice for her.

Middle blocker Tenisha Matlock, a native of North Platte, Neb., said Nebraska volleyball was not as prevalent to her as it was to Straube, having grown up four hours from Lincoln, Neb. While Matlock still watched Nebraska volleyball from time to time, there was no real connection to the program.

Like Straube, Matlock said she also was not offered a scholarship from Nebraska to play volleyball.

“[Nebraska coach] John Cook said in an interview that he had too many middles at the time,” Matlock said. “So I was thinking, ‘Alright, whatever. Your loss.'”

ISU coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, who also hails from the state of Nebraska, said that while the match with the Huskers is a fun match for the players with roots in Nebraska, those ties are the least of the team’s concerns going into the match on Saturday.

Johnson-Lynch was a two-time All-American setter for the Cornhuskers and had a role in the team winning its first ever NCAA Championship in 1995 by defeating Texas.

Johnson-Lynch led the attack for Nebraska during its national title season, helping the team to a 32-2 record, losing only to Penn State and Stanford.

“It always means a little bit more, I think, to our Nebraska kids; but I think that’s probably a moot point anymore,” Johnson-Lynch said. “It’s more that they’re the No. 1 team in the country, and they’re very good.

“I think they’re kind of used to now playing those guys. It will mean a little bit more to them, but I think it’s more that now we’ve got to flip our mindset and get ready for Saturday and play a team that’s good in every position.”

The match between the former Big 12 foes will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.