Cyclones take down Missouri in exhibition finale


Maya Duckworth leaps for a kill during an exhibition game versus Missouri on Aug. 19.

Iowa State volleyball topped Missouri in its season-opening exhibition match Friday night at Hilton Coliseum, winning a tight fifth set. 

Head coach Cristy Johnson-Lynch and Iowa State used 17 kills from freshman Maya Duckworth to top the SEC opponent. 

“She [Duckworth] is just a competitor,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She’s pretty fearless. We’ve seen that all preseason.”

Duckworth’s contribution was a match-high in kills in her first taste of NCAA volleyball. Starting setter and senior Jaden Newsome contributed 27 assists.

“I think it was a great starting point,” Duckworth said. “Going out there and playing five sets, getting to know what five sets is really like in college. We did a good job pushing through even though we were down.”

The Cyclones captured the first set 25-21 with Newsome assisting eight of Iowa State’s kills. With Newsome resting most of the match’s second set, Missouri gained an early lead. The Cyclones battled in the second set, led by the freshman phenom Duckworth. Her eight kills in the second set chipped at the Missouri lead, but the Tigers took the second set 25-20.

Iowa State secured the third set 25-13, then Missouri forced a fifth set after a back-and-forth fourth set. The Tigers captured the win 26-24 in the fourth. 

Iowa State responded by winning the set and match after a 15-10 fifth set. 

Senior Anna Dixon led Missouri with 11 kills, and sophomore Kaylee Cox added 10 kills for the Tigers. Missouri setter Riley Buckley earned a game-high 38 assists. Missouri libero Leandra Mangual-Duran led the match on the defensive end with 23 digs.

Redshirt senior Eleanor Holthaus received a start but was rested by the coaching staff for most of the match. The three-time All-Big 12 first-teamer did not see action in the third, fourth and fifth sets.

Johnson-Lynch and the Iowa State coaching staff split time between the program’s competing liberos. 

With the departure of 2021 Big 12 Libero of the Year Marija Popovic, Iowa State has no definitive starter at that position. 

Sophomore Brook Stonestreet received the start at libero. Stonestreet received three starts at libero in 2021 when Popovic was sidelined due to health and safety protocols. She remained in the position for the first three sets of the match. 

Fellow sophomore Allie Petry filled the libero role in the fourth set, and redshirt freshman Paula Krzeslak subbed in at libero for the match’s fifth and final set.

“Their strengths are very different,” Johnson-Lynch said. “It’s really nice to have that depth. When those three are back there, we’re going to pass well; it’s gonna be hard to get the ball down on us. They’re just such great defensive players.”

Stonestreet finished with a team-high 15 digs playing the libero position for three sets. Petry added 12 digs and two service aces to the box score in just one set at libero. Krzeslak served five times during her time at libero and added 10 digs and two service aces.  

Iowa State will head to the University of Wyoming for the Rumble in the Rockies three-match tournament. The Cyclones will have their first true road matchup of the season against Wyoming and neutral court matchups with Creighton and Wichita State.