Cyclone hitters post much improved performance against Omaha

Iowa State senior middle blocker Candelaria Herrera goes for a kill against No. 2 Baylor on Oct. 24. Baylor beat Iowa State 3-0 Oct. 24.

Andrew Harrington

Iowa State finished the Cyclone Challenge with a 2-0 record after defeating Omaha in straight sets (25-11, 25-16, 25-19) on Saturday. The team was much more pleased with the hitting performance, as opposed to that of the season opener against Drake the day before.

On Friday vs Drake, Iowa State finished the match with a team hitting percentage of .236 with just a pair of players finishing over .400. Things were different against Omaha however, as the team finished with a percentage of .388 and four players finished over .400.

Head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch liked what she saw from the hitters against Omaha, after not playing up to her expectations on Friday.

“Offensively in particular, we were in a lot better rhythm and just got a lot more swings. You did not see us tipping the ball nearly as much as you did yesterday,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Senior Eleanor Holthaus credited a major part of the success of the hitters to setter Jaden Newsome.

“I think our setter Jaden Newsome does a fantastic job of spreading out the offense,” Holthaus said. “When she does that it allows us to get one on one opportunities, which is a lot easier for us to put the ball down.”

Outside hitter Annie Hatch was quick to agree with Holthaus, crediting a major part of her game to Newsome as well.

Coach Johnson-Lynch also appreciated the play of the transfer from Missouri, stating that her balanced approach keeps defenses guessing.

“Jaden really is figuring it out out there, she put up some nice balls and had a strategy to keep things more balanced and find some other hitters, include a little back row,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Holthaus took notice to the improved hitting percentage and much fewer errors during the match, saying that the team was simply making better decisions than they did against Drake.

“Today, I think we just focused on hitting high, hitting our shots, mixing them up, just making smarter decisions on our attacks.”

Middle blocker Candelaria Herrera mentioned that every game is just another opportunity for her to get better, as she looks to do whatever she can to help the team. Herrera has finished each of the first two matches with a hitting percentage over .400.

Iowa State will not return home for a match until September 24 against TCU; Johnson-Lynch knows that this road stretch will be a tall task, but expects to improve because of it.

“We are going to have to be tough and be road warriors. I always liked playing out on the road. I think over the years we have kind of learned the attitude that you have to take into road matches,” Johnson-Lynch said. “This will be an incredibly tough stretch, but we need to keep seeing who we are and what we can work on and get ready for conference. It is going to be a really good test of where we are at.”

Next up for the Cyclones will be a September 3 matchup with LSU to kick off the Penn State Classic at 10 a.m.