Volleyball’s Big 12 opener looks promising

Mark Pawlak

The ISU volleyball team dropped its Big 12 opener to host Kansas, 1-3, Wednesday.

The Cyclones played the Jayhawks evenly after dropping the first set, giving them reason for optimism about the rest of the conference season.

“Our kids showed by the scores that they’re a couple points away from Kansas,” head coach Linda Crum said. “I don’t think we necessarily played our best match.”

“There are a lot of things that we can fix that we have control over. It gives us a lot of confidence in playing them and other teams too,” freshman outside hitter Brittany Dalager said.

Kansas controlled the opening set, winning 30-17.

During the second set the score went back-and-forth until Iowa State scored three consecutive points to break a 23-23 tie. The Cyclones went on to win the set 30-25.

In each of the third and fourth sets, Iowa State had opportunities, but couldn’t get over the hump.

In the third, Iowa State held a 23-22 advantage, but Kansas scored six of the last seven points of the game to win 30-25.

The Jayhawks ran out to a 27-20 margin in the fourth set, before the Cyclones rallied to come within 29-28. Kansas captured the next point to finish the match out at 30-28.

Iowa State will be prepared when they face Kansas again.

“I thought it could have basically gone either way. We had some breakdowns,” Dalager said. “I think we didn’t play up to our potential. If we do, next time we see them we will definitely come up on top.”

Sophomore Renae Pruess said that next time around should be a different story.

“Next time when we play them, we should be able to beat them. We had some minor faults on our side,” Pruess said. “We take care of that, and we’ll be able to get them, because we were playing even with them.”

Dalager led the Cyclones with a career-high 17 kills.

“I think Brittany had a great performance. She’s in what is considered our L-1 position, which is where you put your outside hitter, who you want to take the most swings,” Crum said. “That’s the kind of role that that position needs to take.”

Junior setter Sara Stribe completed the match with 45 assists and a team-high 19 digs for Iowa State.

Pruess added 10 kills and 9 digs to the Cyclones’ effort.

The setback evens the Cyclones’ record at 3-3 overall and 0-1 in the Big 12. Kansas improved to 10-0 and moved to 1-0 in the conference.

“We are a very similar team to Kansas. I thought we played competitively against them in games two, three and four,” Crum said. “Physically, we are right there with them in terms of our ability to play.”

Iowa State starts off their home slate at 7 p.m. on Saturday when they host No. 25 Texas.

The Longhorns are 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference after defeating No. 20 Baylor, 3-0, Wednesday.

Crum said Texas is a different team this season and they’ve had a lot of transition and added many new players from last year.

“They are a very different team than last year. You have to respect them coming in based on their good preseason and start to the Big 12 they have had already,” Crum said.

“I think it will be a tough match. We’re the underdogs, so we have nothing to lose. All we can do is go out and play hard,” Dalager said.