Notebook: Variety of Cyclones step up in sweep of Oklahoma

Annie Hatch serves the ball against No. 1 Texas on Oct. 22 in Hilton Coliseum.

Andrew Harrington

Missing top players has been a theme for the Iowa State volleyball team, but the team didn’t appear to be phased by the absences over the weekend on the road versus Oklahoma as they took a pair of matches from the conference opponent.

The Cyclones played well both offensively and defensively, giving them something to build upon as the regular season is nearing a close.

Next player up

It has become a routine for the Cyclones to need players to step up over the last few weeks due to Big 12 Health and Safety protocols, this weekend against Oklahoma was no different.

Eleanor Holthaus and Marija Popovic were unable to play against Oklahoma, causing Iowa State to be forced into some quick adjustments ahead of the weekend.

Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said that she has enjoyed the production that she has gotten from players that have not had a lot of opportunities, mentioning that it is one of her favorite parts of the sport.

Coming off of a win last time out against West Virginia, Johnson-Lynch found out that Holthaus and Popovic would be out the next day against West Virginia, forcing the Cyclones to just go out and test lineups during the match. Having the whole week to prepare for the Sooners without these players was one of the main reasons for the team’s success.

“It’s hard when you literally have like an hour to get ready with a new lineup,” Johnson-Lynch said. “You’re still a little emotional about what happened before and that shock of not having them.”

The biggest story among these players that have stepped up is Mariah Mitchell. On Friday, Mitchell scored 12 kills with a hitting percentage of .400. Saturday’s match was no different as Mitchell came away with 12 kills with a .346 hitting percentage.

Brooke Stonestreet also had a pair of strong performances, recording 31 digs over two matches.

“I thought our people who hadn’t gotten a lot of time prior to this weekend really stepped up. I mean Mariah was fantastic, has been fantastic the last three matches, her numbers were really good, putting our freshmen in the libero spot, they really stepped up, Stonestreet passed incredibly well this weekend,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Road warriors

With how tightly compacted the middle of the Big 12 is, every win is important, especially when you can get one on the road. Johnson-Lynch preaches the importance of getting wins in opponents’ arenas, and the Cyclones were able to do so, taking a pair of matches in Norman, Oklahoma.

“That was just critical,” Johnson-Lynch said. “To go to Oklahoma, to win there against a good team and to do it with two people out is tremendous.”

The players know just how important every match is during this final stretch, trying to hold their spot in third place in the conference for the rest of the season. Now sitting at 7-5 in Big 12 play, Iowa State controls its own destiny to remain in the top three.

Brooke Andersen echoed what Johnson-Lynch had to say, stating that it was a weekend of strong all-around play resulting in wins.

“It was huge,” Andersen said. “It’s hard to take a game on the road, especially two in a row, so it was really important that we took two from them.”

Hatch’s career weekend

Annie Hatch has put on some great performances recently, as she recovered from an injury that limited her over the start of conference play. Last weekend could be viewed as the best of Hatch’s career.

Hatch had 40 kills, 30 digs and nine blocks in two matches. She also compiled a career-best 22 kills on Saturday.

Hatch credited this improvement to gaining confidence as each week has passed since her injury.

“I just wanted to be as confident and aggressive as I could be because I know we kind of needed everybody to pitch in a lot since our two big players were out,” Hatch said.