Iowa State begins conference play against TCU


DJ Jacobi

Annie Hatch and Abby Greiman jump up high to block the ball.

Aaron Hickman

Conference play is here for Iowa State volleyball.

The Cyclones open Big 12 play at home this weekend, with TCU being the first Big 12 opponent on the schedule. Iowa State enters the weekend with an 8-3 record, while TCU sits at 6-4. This weekend will serve as an early insight into where the Cyclones fit into a competitive conference.

The only common opponent for the two squads is the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who swept both Iowa State and TCU in straight sets. The Horned Frogs were also swept in straight sets by second-ranked Wisconsin and their other two losses came against Houston Baptist and SMU. All six of their wins have come against weaker opponents and they have yet to capture a signature win this season.

On the other hand, the Cyclones were able to hand both Syracuse and Ball State their first losses of the season, with two out of their three losses coming against ranked teams. The third loss, however, was against a then winless Iowa team.

The Horned Frogs have hit to a tune of a .229 percentage so far, but similarly to Iowa State, they have relied on their defense up to this point. Only allowing opponents to hit at a .168 clip and tallying 3.2 blocks per set, this figures to be a battle between two teams with similar principles.

The Cyclones are hitting .254 on the season and are only allowing opponents to hit .186. Based strictly on numbers, Iowa State has the slightly better offense and TCU has the slightly better defense.

One big aspect to watch in the two matches will be the blocking. Iowa State has 96 blocks this season in 11 games, while the Horned Frogs have 111 in one less game. However, the Cyclones’ block has been steadily improving over the past couple of weeks.

The players to watch offensively for the Horned Frogs are Julia Adams and MyKayla Myers. Adams leads the team with 112 kills on a .236 hitting percentage. Myers is second on the team with 82 kills and a very impressive .378 hitting percentage.

Defensively, Cecily Bramschreiber leads the team with 121 digs. Madilyn Cole and Myers are tied for the team lead in blocks with 53 each.

Iowa State will also approach these matches as an opportunity to improve, just as they have all season.

“We have our laundry list of things that we want to get better at,” Head Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “Our block and defense has been really good and we’ve been holding opponents down to a pretty low hitting percentage.”

Johnson-Lynch discussed at length how it is time for the offense to get going, and that other areas of the game can often impact how well the attack can produce.

Being back at home will also be huge for the Cyclones, as they have been on the road since the very first weekend of the season. Getting into the Big 12 portion of the schedule also provides a welcome structure, as the team will have several days to practice and prepare for the one team they will face each week. 

“I’m very excited,” Candelaria Herrera said. “We’re ready to move on and get into conference play.”

The first match will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, with the second being played at 4:00 p.m on Saturday. Both matches will take place at Hilton Coliseum.