Volleyball team prepares for fast-paced conference play

Emily Arthur

The ISU volleyball team is well aware of the difference between playing a Big 12 foe and playing a non-conference opponent.

Now it just needs to learn how to adjust to it.

“In the Big 12, it’s a much faster-paced game,” senior Sara Stribe said.

“We definitely have to pick it up in the practice gym, pick up the pace in the game and then it will definitely show once we get into an actual match.”

The Cyclones rolled through their early non-conference schedule, finishing 9-2, but have dropped their first two conference games of the season, 3-0 to Oklahoma on Wednesday and 3-0 to Texas Tech at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday.

“Overall, some of the teams we played early on, when they’re competing, there’s not that big a difference there,” ISU head coach Linda Crum said.

“It just comes down to our ability to serve aggressively and take them out of their primary system and on the other hand, for us to stay in our system.”

In Iowa State’s 3-0 (26-30, 14-30, 28-30) loss to Texas Tech, the Cyclones committed 15 service errors and had only two service aces.

“If you serve aggressively, that should mean on a stat sheet or your ending box score, for every service ace, you don’t have more than one error,” Crum said. “You’ve got to be careful. There’s a balance there. You’ve got to understand how to serve aggressively.”

The Cyclones had their chances in games one and three, but let the match get away from them.

Stribe said she was proud of the way the team responded in game three, but by then, it was too late.

“Overall, we know we should play better than how we did,” she said.

“We just came out flat and didn’t compete in games one and two, and it’s too much to come back with in game three.”

Freshman Amanda Craig said it’s going to take a little bit of time for some of the younger players – like herself – to adapt to the faster game.

“We’re just trying to make the transition,” she said. “It’s obviously really early in our Big 12 play. . The pace is a little bit faster in the game. The competition level is higher. You’ve got to be on your toes all the time too to stay up with the Big 12 teams.”

Stribe said it will probably get easier to compete in a fast-paced game as the season wears on.

“Our freshmen are learning right now, and it’s a huge difference from high school,” she said. “We just have to keep learning every game and get better as we go.”

Next action for the Cyclones is on Wednesday when they play Kansas State in Des Moines. Match time is 7 p.m.