Hahn shines defensively for No. 18 Cyclones

Zach Gourley

Coming off an undefeated weekend for the ISU volleyball team, coach Christy Johnson-Lynch critiqued her team’s 3-0 performance at a Monday news conference.

“We have to defend better, particularly team blocking,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I feel like we should be a pretty good blocking team. We’re pretty big, athletic and physical. Our blocking numbers are not where they need to be.”

The No. 18 Cyclones (3-0) averaged 1.82 blocks per set in their three matches in DeKalb, Ill., with Jamie Straube and Tenisha Matlock leading the team with seven blocks apiece on the weekend.

Though Johnson-Lynch said that blocking would be the focus of practice this week, the defense did have some bright spots, namely sophomore libero Kristen Hahn.

“[Hahn] is just a fearless player, she’s really motivated and she works so hard,” said junior middle blocker Jamie Straube. “To see her have such a good performance is just a reflection of how hard she works every day in practice, so it’s really good to see that pay off for her.”

Hahn averaged 6.27 digs per set on the weekend, including a 30-dig performance against host Northern Illinois.

“She’s an awesome defender and we’ve always known that; she has very quick reactions,” Johnson-Lynch said of Hahn. “She has the libero personality that you like to see: high energy, kind of a sparkplug-type player. She’s like that naturally, so you don’t have to pull that out of her.”

As a result of Hahn’s efforts in DeKalb, the Cedar Rapids native was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, the first conference honors of her career.

“I don’t really think about how many digs I get during a game, but a lot of balls came my way that I wasn’t expecting,” Hahn said. “It caught me off guard at first, but everyone did a good job playing their position. We’ve been practicing against our teammates so it was nice to see different hitters and their attacks and be able to defend them and pick up their hits and their tips.”

Hahn and teammates now have just a few day of practice remaining to prepare before they host the Iowa State Challenge in Ames on Friday and Saturday.

The Cyclones open the weekend’s action at noon on Friday against Southern Miss, followed by a 6 p.m. matchup with Arizona State.

The apex of this weekend’s action will come Saturday at 2 p.m. when the Cyclones take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at Hilton Coliseum.