A good start, more work to be done

Dean Berhow-Goll

This past weekend, the ISU volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 record at the Northern Illinois Invitational in Dekalb, Ill. 

No. 18 Iowa State (3-0) defeated Cincinnati (25-15, 26-28, 25-16, 25-16) on Friday, and IUPUI (25-13, 25-13, 25-20) and Northern Illinois (21-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-21) on Saturday. 

“This weekend was a good chance to get the jitters out,” said senior Carly Jenson. “Playing against Northern Illinois was tough, but we stayed relaxed and composed well.”

A few things were still up in the air for the Cyclones in terms of rotation and who would fit in where, but one thing that wasn’t a tossup was Jenson.

Over the weekend, Jenson racked up 47 kills while freshman Victoria Hurtt added 35 of her own. Both set career highs in kills against Northern Illinois, Jenson having 26 and Hurtt totaling 17. 

“[Jenson] has gotten better with her work ethic, determination and skill,” said coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. “She works really hard to get her feet to the ball on any kind of set and she’s really become an all-around great player.”

On a defensive note, sophomore libero Kristen Hahn earned all-tournament recognition and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.

This weekend Hahn racked up a total of 69 digs, including 30 against Northern Illinois, making her only the ninth player in ISU history to record 30 or more digs in a match. 

“Hahn is doing a great job,” Jenson said. “She made all-tournament and has really stepped up. She’s improved that much more at defense and serve receive, and has helped a lot.”

This week the Cyclones will be preparing to have another string of games for the weekend at the Iowa State Challenge which include Southern Miss, Arizona State and Iowa. 

None of those teams are ranked inside the top 25, but no one is taking any of the teams lightly.

“I’ve beaten [Iowa] every time I’ve played them,” Jenson said. “I’m sure there will be a big crowd there, and I’m excited to keep that streak alive.”