Takeaways: Momentum, defense areas to improve for the Cyclones

Abby Greiman (No.16) awaits the serve in Iowa State volleyball’s season opener vs. the Drake Bulldogs on August 27.

Andrew Harrington

The Iowa State volleyball team wrapped up a 2-1 weekend Saturday at the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament in Coralville, Iowa, with wins over Ball State and Syracuse and a loss against Iowa.

While the Cyclones were able to take down a pair of undefeated teams, the team could not complete the weekend sweep.

Taking the first set

The importance of the Cyclones taking, or at the very least making a push to take, the first set of the match can play a major role in them winning. During Friday morning against Ball State, Iowa State took a 26-24 win in set one. This set swung the momentum towards Iowa State, as the team was able to take a fairly comfortable 3-1 for the match.

That same day against Syracuse, Iowa State dropped the opening set by a score of 25-20. Iowa State would fall behind two sets to one before making a comeback to take the final two sets and the match.

While Iowa State did manage to win the match, it required a major bounce-back that may not happen every match.

Lastly, the Cyclones dropped the opening set of Saturday’s matchup with Iowa 25-20. Despite Iowa State entering the match 2-0 at the event, and Iowa entering it 0-2, the first set momentum pushed Iowa to a 3-0 sweep.

Playing their best from the opening set will likely be a point of emphasis for the players and staff for the rest of the season.

First line of defense

Iowa State is a team that relies heavily on blocks and defense at the net. Between the talent of middle blocker Candelaria Herrera and right side Eleanor Holthaus, the players pride themselves on their presence at the net.

This net dominance was not all there during the previous tournament. Iowa State was out blocked by Syracuse and matched in blocks by Iowa at the event.

The correlation between blocks and wins for Iowa State is clear as the team holds a 5-0 record when recording more blocks than the opponent. On the flip side, when the Cyclones have recorded equal or fewer blocks than the team across the net, the team’s record is 1-2.

The blockers are going to be extremely important for Iowa State over the course of the season.

Short memory

The Cyclones are going to have to move on quickly from a disappointing loss to the Hawkeyes. Iowa State is set to match up against UNI at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Panthers’ home arena before heading to Minnesota for a pair of matches at the Diet Coke Classic.

With just three days between the matchup with Iowa and the matchup with UNI, there is no time for anything other than preparation for the coming matches for the Cyclones.