‘It’s like she’s a third hitter’: Newsome provides offensive spark to lead Cyclones


Jacob Rice

Iowa State setter Jaden Newsome prepares for a point during the team’s spring season of 2022.

Iowa State volleyball gained a win in its home opener Wednesday night against Drake to start the Cyclone Challenge. 

Iowa State setter Jaden Newsome earned a career-high nine kills on 13 attempts in the match. The win over the 5-1 Bulldogs moved Iowa State to 3-4 prior to facing in-state rival Iowa Friday night. 

“When she’s in the front row, she’s so offensive. It’s like she’s a third hitter,” head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said.

Iowa State hitter Maya Duckworth added nine kills and Eleanor Holthaus led the team with 14. Newsome added 37 assists to the box score. 

“There’s very few setters that can attack like her,” Johnson-Lynch said.

The Cyclones won 3 sets in the matchup, with Drake pushing two sets to extra points. 

“We’re not where we want to be,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We have to clean up a lot of the little things.”

Playing in front of its home crowd, Iowa State’s balanced offense highlighted the match’s first set. Led by four kills from senior Holthaus, the Cyclones posted a hitting percentage of .364. 

Iowa State ended the match with six players recording at least five kills. Iowa State finished with a hitting percentage of .254, which is the second highest in the 2022 season. 

Seniors Haley Bush and Taylor Oberpriller led the offensive effort for Drake. Bush, who led the team in kills in 2021, made a match-high 18 kills in Wednesday’s match. She started the match with 10 kills in the first set. Oberpriller was second in the match with 15 kills added to the box score for the Bulldogs. 

In the second set, Iowa State committed six errors and offensive efficiency cooled. Still, the Cyclones were able to fend off six set points from the Bulldogs. The Cyclones rallied from being behind 24-20 and pushed the set to extra points after a block from Holthaus. The Bulldogs won the set 27-25 and evened the match. 

The Cyclones were down 5-0 to start the third set, but after jumping ahead to a 13-12 lead, the Cyclones held the lead and won the set 25-19. 

In the fourth set, Iowa State and Drake again went to extra points. This time, a kill by Mariah Mitchell and a block by Newsome and freshman Kelsey Perry made the score 26-24 and completed the set and the match in favor of Iowa State. 

Iowa State gained a clear edge in the blocking battle over the Bulldogs. Iowa State tallied 24 blocks against the Drake offensive attack. Perry and Alexis Engelbrecht both reached six block assists in the match. Mitchell added five block assists to the box score.

Freshman Duckworth played all four sets in Wednesday evening’s matchup. The Cyclone hitter did not play against LSU at the Tiger Challenge and only played one set against Troy in Iowa State’s most recent contest. Duckworth is fourth on the team in kills in her debut season as a Cyclone. 

“You could tell she was excited,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She’s going to continue to get more and more comfortable every day she can get back out there.”

Iowa State will continue its home stand playing host to the Cyclone Challenge. Iowa State will host in-state rival Iowa Friday night at Hilton Coliseum and Wright State on Saturday.