ISU kicks off volleyball season tonight

Emily Arthur

Although the age-old claim that `practice makes perfect’ is perhaps a little clich‚d, ISU head volleyball coach Linda Crum will be banking on the idea when her team takes the floor for the first time this season.

After strong spring and summer workouts, Iowa State kicks off its season tonight when it faces Wisconsin-Green Bay at 7 p.m. in the second game of the ISU Heritage Classic.

Morgan State and the University of Missouri-Kansas City play at 5 p.m. in the first game at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State will turn around on Saturday with matches against UMKC at 3 p.m. and Morgan State at 7 p.m.

“We’re more prepared than we’ve ever been, by far,” said Crum, who is starting her fourth year as head coach at Iowa State.

“It stems back to a great spring. That was the foundation and now their ready to take the next step.”

The next step may be improving on last season’s 4-22 record.

“We’re going to surprise some people, which is going to be fun,” Crum said.

“Last year, you kind of had to hope you were maybe going to catch some teams off-guard. It’s just different this year.”

The confidence and preparation may be different, but the general look of the team isn’t.

Iowa State returns five starters from last year’s team, including senior middle Mandi Harms and senior setter Sara Stribe.

“This is the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve finally got some confidence going into the season,” Stribe said. “We’re finally at a level where we can really compete, which is someplace we haven’t been at.”

Stribe said the team has benefited from having a strong mix of returning players and younger players who have come in ready to play.

“We had a really competitive preseason which got us all ready to go,” she said. “Every day you had to come in and compete because there were spots up for grabs.”

Harms agreed.

“We’ve really meshed together,” she said. “Everyone has just clicked. We have just the right mix of young and old.”

In Crum’s three previous years at Iowa State, the Cyclones have a record of 9-73. But Crum said the difference this season lies in the players.

“It’s just a totally different look in their eyes, a different feel from them, a different presence,” she said.

“They just have a totally different chemistry on the court, and you can see it in what you hear and what you see.”