Conference standings on the line as Cyclones take on Oklahoma



Iowa State volleyball players celebrate a point against West Virginia on Oct. 30. The Cyclones won the match 3-1. (Photo credit: Luke Lu/Photo Courtesy of Iowa State Athletics)

Andrew Harrington

Battling to hold a spot in the top half of the Big 12, Iowa State volleyball will take on the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday in Norman, Okla.

With the uncertainty of which Cyclones will be available due to Big 12 Health and Safety Protocols, the focus for the team this week has been on putting together a lineup that plays well together. 

After Eleanor Holthaus and Marija Popovic missed the previous match against West Virginia, head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch has tried many different combinations of players ahead of this weekend.

Against West Virginia, Johnson-Lynch did not have this advantage, saying that the team was scrambling to see what would work.

“The changes we had to make, we had to just kind of throw everything out there and see what we could do,” Johnson-Lynch said.

The biggest strength of the Sooners is their net defense and blocking ability. A season average of 2.7 blocks places Oklahoma at second in the Big 12, which is a strong representation of how well the team has played at the net this season.

The block total has yet to translate to a low opponent hitting percentage for the Sooners, ranking sixth out of nine teams in the Big 12 for the category, but the defense is something that the Cyclones are preparing for.

Johnson-Lynch said that the team is no stranger to physical teams like this and that they just need to execute the game plan.

“A lot like we normally have to do. Serving tough, they do set their middles a lot, so we’ve to get their setter off of the net, be in system on our side and just like I said on Sunday, we’ve got to find more offense,” Johnson-Lynch said.

The week of preparation will determine if Iowa State is able to compete with Oklahoma on the road. Overall the players are looking to find a little more consistency than what they showed against West Virginia and Texas over the last two weeks.

The opening match will be played at 6 p.m. Friday followed by the second at 4 p.m Saturday.