Three Cyclones who need to make an impact in 2019


Then-sophomore libero Izzy Enna serves the ball during the Iowa State vs. Texas volleyball game Oct. 24 at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones fell to the Longhorns 0-3.

Jack Shover

After failing to make the NCAA Tournament, Iowa State won the NIVC Tournament, but lost two important seniors, Grace Lazard and Jess Schaben.

To make the NCAA Tournament, Iowa State is going to need to have strong seasons from junior Izzy Enna and sophomores Eleanor Holthaus and Candel Herrera Rodriguez.

Enna took over the starting role of libero from the former Big 12 Libero of the Year Hali Hillegas, who left the program with one year of eligibility left, and started the Cyclones’ last 17 games at the position.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity [to play libero],” Enna said after taking hold of the libero spot. “I’ve worked so hard, I’ve wanted this for so long and just being able to have the opportunity to do it just has been amazing. I just feel like I can contribute energy and I feel that has really helped through the matches.”

At libero, Enna led the team with an average of 4.22 digs a set and recorded 31 service aces overall.

Enna set a career high for digs in a game against Texas Tech with 19, and due to her performance, she was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 26, 2018.

Entering her junior year, Enna will need to continue to be a defensive stalwart on the court by covering lots of court and delivering passes that will allow the attack to establish a rhythm. She also will have to continue providing pressure on the serve, which is reflected in the amount of service aces she had last season.

As a freshman outside hitter, Holthaus quickly established herself as the third-best hitter on the attack for Iowa State. Finishing behind only Schaben and Lazard with 268 kills on the season, she ranked third overall in Iowa State.

Holthaus made the most of her touches on the attack and finished with a hitting percentage of .270. Against Oklahoma, Holthaus established a career high for kills in a game with 17.

On the defensive end of the net, Holthaus finished with 89 blocks — the third-highest on the team.

During the NIVC Tournament, Holthaus was named to the All-Tournament Team and over the course of the tournament, coach Christy Johnson-Lynch saw considerable improvement from Holthaus. In the championship game, Holthaus had 13 kills, including the final kill that gave the Cyclones the win.

“It was unbelievable,” Holthaus said after the game. “It was definitely a moment I’ll never forget, and was a great start to my college experience.”

On Iowa State’s attack, Johnson-Lynch likes to feed the ball to the team’s hitters, and with Schaben gone as the Cyclone’s go-to option, Holthaus needs to maintain the efficiency she had her freshman year with more touches on the attack.

After transitioning from outside hitter to middle blocker last season due to necessity, Herrera Rodriguez thrived in the role and started the last 23 matches for Iowa State at that position.

Herrera Rodriguez’s 111 blocks were second-highest on the team, and she was named to the NIVC All-Tournament Team.

“I’m really excited about her,” Johnson-Lynch said during the 2018 season. “I know she’s a great player, and we all just felt like it was a matter of time. She’s going to be a legit, real player and she’s on her way.”

Next season, Herrera Rodriguez needs to continue to bring physicality at the net and meet opponents on the attack.