VOLLEYBALL: Cyclones carrying momentum into match against Kansas State

Jame Straube, middle blocker, spikes the ball past Nebraskas Hannah Werth on Nov. 7. Iowa State takes on Kansas State on the road Saturday. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Logan Gaedke

Jame Straube, middle blocker, spikes the ball past Nebraska’s Hannah Werth on Nov. 7. Iowa State takes on Kansas State on the road Saturday. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Kayci Woodley

A sweep over Kansas State on Sept. 26 in Hilton Coliseum began Iowa State’s 11-game winning streak that was recently put to an end by Nebraska.

Now, after responding to the loss with a win in College Station, Texas over the Aggies on Wednesday, the Cyclones carry that momentum into Manhattan, Kan. where they face the Wildcats for the second time this season in hopes of continuing a second winning streak of the season.

As Iowa State (21-4, 13-3 Big 12) enters with momentum after a crucial road victory, Kansas State (10-15, 4-11 Big 12) will enter as a much different team than the squad that fell to Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum in late September.

Responding to the first loss in 11 games by sweeping Texas A&M in College Station for just the second time in school history, and extending the number win over Big 12 opponents to 13, the most in school history, was a ‘confidence booster’, to say the least.

“[The A&M win] is a confidence booster I would say definitely,” said senior setter Kaylee Manns. “And that’s a really tough place to play, the fans are really loud and [have] choreographed cheers and it’s really intimidating.”

Since the Iowa State victory over the Wildcats nearly a month and a half ago, Kansas State has taken a set from then-No.23 Baylor and topped Texas A&M in a five-set battle.

“Their lineup will vary a little bit from the last time we saw them,” said coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. “I think they’re better than the last time we saw them for sure. They’ve won a couple matches and they seem to be playing a lot better.”

Middle blocker Kelsey Chipman has been one of Kansas State’s biggest threats, and as a senior for the Wildcats is posting an average 2.71 kills per set. This will not only be the last time Iowa State sees Chipman on the opposite side of the net, but it will be the last time Manns will play against former-teammate Chipman in a collegiate contest. The two played at Washburn Rural together and talked this week about how ‘weird it will be’ never playing each other again after Saturday’s game.

“It’s nice, I mean I get to go home and all my family and everybody all my friends get to come see me,” Manns said. “It’s going to be kind of weird but I like going home and playing.”

Defensively, the Wildcats are backed by junior libero Lauren Mathewson who was recently chosen as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for her school-record 41 digs in Kansas State’s five-set victory over Texas A&M.

“She’s got great experience,” Johnson-Lynch said of Mathewson. “I think she’s a really nice defensive player so we’ll have to make sure we don’t hit the ball to her too often.”

The Wildcats aren’t the only team that has gone through changes since the last meeting between the two teams.

After an 11-game winning streak was ended by the Huskers in Ames, the Cyclones bounced back with an effective blocking game over the Aggies on Wednesday that would be devastating to the Wildcats’ offensive if Iowa State brings that same game to Manhattan.

The Cyclones posted 11 total team blocks, three of which were solos by freshman middle blocker Jamie Straube.

“I feel like our team, when we get our blocking going, everything else picks up from there, so we’re more aggressive playing, it’s easier for the defense to work around there, the hitters get the little more attentive,” said  Straube. “Once you get big blocks and it’s such a momentum change that once you get that everything else just kind of runs from there.”

In the history of the series between the two teams, there hasn’t been a season split since 1988. Each year since then has been a season sweep by one team or the other, giving Iowa State a 21-year old tradition to keep alive.

“We know a lot about them again they’re the lower half of the Big 12 which doesn’t say anything you know anybody can beat anyone,” Manns said. “[They have] home court advantage so it’s always going to be tougher.”