Volleyball resumes spring season with trip to DePaul

The Iowa State volleyball team gathers together after a successful rally against Texas Tech on Oct. 3.

Adarsh Tamma

After nearly two weeks off since its last match, the Iowa State volleyball team will take the court once again this weekend with another road trip against the DePaul Blue Demons.

The Cyclones were supposed to host Illinois State on Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum for their first home match of the spring season; however, the Redbirds had to cancel their travel plans due to not having enough medically available players on their roster, and as per the Missouri Valley Conference’s protocols, they were not allowed to play any matches.

Head Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch and her squad started off the spring campaign with a trip to Milwaukee, first taking on St. Louis on Feb. 26 before facing No. 24 Marquette. The Cyclones beat the Billikens 3-0 but fell to the Golden Eagles by the same margin to finish the weekend with a 1-1 record.

Iowa State has a bit of a depleted roster this spring, with junior Brooke Andersen and sophomore Michal Schuler both missing the spring season due to injuries. Senior middle blocker Candelaria Herrera is also not playing for the Cyclones this spring. She will stay in Argentina to train with the Women’s National Team in hopes of making their roster for the Tokyo Olympics. 

Therefore, the Cyclones have made some changes to their lineup for the spring season, including shifting sophomore Kenzie Mantz to the right side while junior Eleanor Holthaus played at the outside hitter position.

Mantz had a strong spring debut, recording 11 kills against St. Louis while also hitting at 0.500, both career highs. Holthaus also proved to be an offensive weapon for Iowa State, notching 10 kills and eight digs against Marquette.

Johnson-Lynch seemed pleased at the new adjustments her team made in their opening series.

“It was great to see [Holthaus] out on the left side, she’s always played right side her whole career,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She’s taking a very heavy load, she’s passing every rotation and getting set a lot out of the front and back rows. She’s doing a lot, and I thought she held up pretty well over the weekend.” 

Looking ahead to their pair of matches against DePaul, the Cyclones are going to play the Blue Demons for the first time since Sept. 26, 1992, when they beat the Blue Demons at home in three straight sets as part of a doubleheader.

DePaul will enter the series against Iowa State with a record of 4-5 (3-5 in Big East Conference), having most recently defeated Northern Iowa on the road this past Sunday by a score of 3-1.

The Blue Demons rely on an offensive attack and are primarily led by freshman Jill Pressly, who had a double-double against the Panthers with 18 kills and 16 digs to lead her team in all-around play. DePaul also has a strong presence at the net, with the team currently averaging 2.43 blocks per set with senior Emma Price leading the defense with 2.21 blocks per set.

For Iowa State, Johnson-Lynch is looking for her team to work on covering the court.

“I want to see us be a little more organized defensively, lining up in a better spot for our block and our defense behind it,” Johnson-Lynch said. “Marquette out-dug us by about 20 [digs], which was very unusual for us.” 

Iowa State will play DePaul at 2 p.m. Friday and at 4 p.m. Saturday, with both matches being played at the McGrath-Phillips Arena in Chicago. Both matches will also be livestreamed for free on DePaul’s website, with live stats being provided as well.