Volleyball stays optimistic, focuses on improvements to be made

Travis Cordes

A disappointing home loss to Kansas State on Saturday night marked the ISU volleyball team’s third consecutive defeat, marking its longest losing streak of the season.

All three losses have come against teams in the top third of the conference, and the Cyclones have fallen from being in a tie for second place down to fifth in the Big 12 standings in that time period.

But the Cyclones (11-8, 5-4 Big 12) know there are good things that can be taken from this rough patch of matches.

“We just have to realize that there are plenty of matches yet to be played,” said senior Erin Boeve. “We just need to take things from these matches to figure out what we need to improve on. And if we keep our heads up, we’ll be all right.”

Iowa State found itself in a similar situation at this point last season. After dropping a tough five-game match on the road to a struggling Texas Tech team, the Cyclones were in a stretch in which they had lost three of four matches, and were sixth in the conference with a 4-5 record.

But something lit a fire under the Cyclones after that match, as they won their next five in a row and seven of eight, crawling up the standings to a 12-8 final record and a fourth-place finish in the conference.

“There’s so much time left in this season,” said coach Christy Johnson. “And the 11 matches we have left can make the difference between second place and seventh place.”

The conference load gets easier for the Cyclones in the coming weeks, playing Colorado (0-9 Big 12) twice, Texas Tech (1-8), Baylor (2-7) and Texas A&M (4-6). All four teams have fallen into the bottom half of the conference standings.

Iowa State will also match up again with Kansas State (6-3) on the road in Manhattan, Kan.

“There may be a little frustration right now,” Johnson said, “and that’s the way it is sometimes when you play in a conference as tough as the Big 12, but I have a lot of faith in this group. They’re not the kind of team that will get down or stop working hard, and we’ll continue to come back and play hard in practice on Monday.”