Volleyball looks to use energy as an advantage this season

Iowa State volleyball celebrates as a team against the No.2 Baylor Bears on Oct. 24, 2020.

Andrew Harrington

A mentally-draining 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted sports at many levels across the nation, and Iowa State volleyball was no different. The energy and focus of the team were affected based on factors outside of the team’s control.

This year, the players and staff are excited about the intensity and energy the team has been playing with during the first few weeks of practice. Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch has noticed this intensity in the off-season and believes it will play a role once they step on the court.

“I think as you get close to your first match everyone gets kind of that nervous excitement,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I think we are all super excited just to play.”

The excitement and energy of the team have not only been felt by the coaching staff but also by a number of players. Outside hitter Annie Hatch was among those that have noticed, crediting a part of it to the newcomers.

Even senior leader Eleanor Holthaus spoke about the extra motivation that the new players have brought to the team.

“We have eight new girls, four freshmen, four transfers, I think we are working really hard out there, we are finding our groove with one another and we are getting after it,” Holthaus said.

The first sign of this extra energy that this Cyclone team has compared to teams of the previous year came Aug. 14 during the Cyclone and Gold scrimmage. Johnson-Lynch first noticed the energy coming off in the speed of play during the scrimmage. The scrimmage became competitive enough where Johnson-Lynch said getting kills was a tall task.

Recent Olympian Candelaria Herrera also liked the energy that she saw from the team throughout the scrimmage, saying that it was extremely fun to play with a team that had so much energy.

This energy that the players have played with so far has directly translated to a motivated and hard-working roster. Clemson transfer Solei Thomas said that the team playing hard every day has stood out to her most heading into the season.

“The energy, I feel like we get out there every day no matter what day it is, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we come in with the same energy and want to get better every day,” Thomas said.

The energy of this year’s Cyclone volleyball team has been felt by the roster, certainly impacting the morale and motivation of the players. Whether or not the extra intensity of the team will lead to a more successful season than the previous remains to be seen, but the appreciation of it, from both teammates and coaches, is definitely there.

Iowa State is set to play the team’s first two official games of the season this weekend in the Hilton Coliseum against Drake (Saturday) and Omaha (Friday).