Volleyball players set to bounce back after Texas loss

Matt Gubbels

After its seven-game winning streak was snapped Wednesday at Texas, the ISU volleyball team will be looking to start a new one Saturday when it takes on Missouri.

The Cyclones (8-5, 2-1 Big 12), who were swept by the Longhorns on Wednesday, will be trying to defeat the struggling Tigers (7-4, 0-2) for the second consecutive time. Iowa State defeated the then-21st-ranked Tigers in four games last year in Columbia, Mo.

Sophomore setter Kaylee Manns said the Cyclones came out and played against Texas uncertain of themselves and a little intimidated.

“We just need to come out and play our game,” Manns said. “We didn’t do that at all against Texas, so we just need to come out and play the way we’ve been taught.

“They were a good team last year and we beat them, so it gets that extra little bit of confidence going,” Manns said.

Texas freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette had 23 kills against the Cyclones on Wednesday. ISU coach Christy Johnson said going up against a hitter like that showed the team a few things.

“We have to continue to be creative in slowing down some stronger hitters,” Johnson said. “We have to figure out when we go up against a hitter like that what we are going to do and how we are going to block and respond.”

Missouri is coming off a five-game loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, a match they led two games to one. Missouri was swept at the hands of the Longhorns in their Big 12 opener as well.

Johnson said Iowa State just needs to take care of their side of the net.

“We need to make sure we are ball-handling well and making things clean on our side of the net,” Johnson said.

Senior outside hitter Na Yang, the fifth-leading hitter in the Big 12 Conference, comes into the match as the Tigers’ main offensive option.

The Tigers also had the fourth-leading hitter in kills points, and service aces in the conference in sophomore outside hitter Julianna Klein. She, however, tore her anterior cruciate ligament in a match against the Houston Cougars.

In her absence, Missouri is 2-2.

“They are trying to find their offense and who can carry that load for them,” Johnson said. “They are so well-coached and they’re a good team, so I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Tiger senior libero Tatum Ailes leads the conference in digs, which is why ISU freshman libero Ashley Mass said passing will be a key to victory on Saturday.

“We need to pass well, and play defense well like we have been doing,” Mass said.