Cyclone volleyball seeking another road win


Jacob Rice / Iowa State Daily

Iowa State celebrates a point during an exhibition match with Missouri on Aug. 19.

Iowa State volleyball will travel for another road test Friday and Saturday with three matches at the Tiger Challenge, including one against No. 21 Penn State.

The Cyclones are 1-2 in the early 2022 season after completing competition at the Rumble in the Rockies tournament in Laramie, Wyoming.

The Cyclones fell to Wichita State and No. 18 Creighton but secured their first win of the season against the host school, Wyoming, in four sets. Iowa State battled Creighton in four sets, which was decided by less than five points, and pushed Wichita State to five sets.

“I like to schedule teams that are going to test us,” head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “It was a good start on both sides.”

Offensively, Iowa State was led by its veteran presence. Eleanor Holthaus and Mariah Mitchell led the way in kills for the Rumble in the Rockies. Mitchell had five starts in 2021, and during Friday and Saturday’s matches in Wyoming, Mitchell played in all but one of Iowa State’s sets.

Mitchell is second behind Holthaus in kills on the Iowa State team, and while at the Rumble in the Rockies, the senior passed the 600 career kill milestone.

With freshman Maya Duckworth contributing for Iowa State right out of the gate, the Cyclones have three weapons above 2.55 kills per set.

“It builds a lot of momentum,” Mitchell said about Iowa State’s variety of offensive weapons. “The energy is always there when you’re going on a run.”

The Blue Jays outhit Iowa State .276 to .220 in the Cyclone’s season opener. Creighton also added 41 digs to the stat sheet compared to 33 by Iowa State. Iowa State opponents out-dug the Cyclones in the team’s first three matches.

Against Wyoming, the Cowgirls also earned a higher hitting percentage than the Cyclones. However, Iowa State earned the win after Wyoming secured the win in the first set. Iowa State battled to win three consecutive sets, playing a true road atmosphere against the host school.

Iowa State outlasted Wyoming in extra points in the fourth set to secure the team’s first win of 2022.

“They continued to compete even in the sets they were down big,” Johnson-Lynch said. “They just keep fighting. So, I think that’s going to give us a great chance in these upcoming matches.”

Iowa State will take on No. 21 Penn State at noon Friday. The Nittany Lions were 21-11 a season ago and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Iowa State will play host school LSU at 7:30 p.m. Friday and complete the tournament Saturday at noon against Troy.