Cyclones prepare to be tested against No. 1 Texas


Eleanor Holthaus (right) high fives Alexis Engelbrecht (left) after a point against TCU on Sept. 25.

Andrew Harrington

A season of ups-and-downs for Iowa State volleyball has led up to this point, with the Cyclones set to take on No. 1 Texas in the pair of matchups in Hilton Coliseum on Thursday and Friday.

The Longhorns come into the week with a 15-0 record, only dropping six sets over the course of the season. In addition, the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll unanimously selected Texas as the top ranked team in the nation.

The Iowa State players recognize that it will be a difficult task to take down Texas but believe that if they execute the game plan, the team will come out on top. Senior Brooke Andersen knows what it will take to defeat the Longhorns and feels that they are ready for the challenge.

“We just need to stick to who we are, and that’s playing rallies and not letting them side out the first ball,” Andersen said.

Iowa State players have spent much of their seasons focusing on their side of the net, and that will not change heading into these matches.

Possibly the biggest strength of Texas is its serving, ranking third in the nation with 2.20 aces per set. Melanie Parra and Logan Eggleston each rank in the top 20 individually in aces per set for the Longhorns.

Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch has spent a good chunk of time over the team’s bye week in preparation for this team’s service attack. In order for the Cyclones to overcome this, the passing from players such as Marija Popovic and Eleanor Holthaus will have to be at its best.

Taking a match from Texas could provide a major boost for Iowa State in the Big 12 standings. Johnson-Lynch stated that a win this week could change the conference outlook in a big way.

“They are all pretty critical in the Big 12, it is such a tight race,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We’ve got to chase those teams at the top of the conference.”

Iowa State currently stands in third place in the conference with a 4-2 record in conference play. Each win going forward will strengthen their chances at a high final placement.

The Cyclones are set to play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday against the Longhorns.