Hawkeyes return to Ames for Cyclone Challenge

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Maeley Rosengren / Iowa State Daily

Freshman middle blocker Kelsey Perry and setter Jaden Newsome celebrate a kill by senior Eleanor Holthaus against Drake on Sept. 7.

In-state rival Iowa will return to Ames Friday to take on Iowa State volleyball in the Cyclone Challenge.

The match will be the first between the two rivals to take place in Hilton Coliseum since Iowa’s 3-1 win in the 2018 season.
The Hawkeyes will play their first matchup of the Cyclone Challenge on Friday against Wright State at 11 a.m. before facing the Cyclones Friday evening.

Iowa State gained its third win of the season in four sets Wednesday night to start the Cyclone Challenge. However, head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said the Cyclones were sloppy. Ball handling and passing specifically were not up to standard for the 18-year head coach.

“We keep getting our backs against the wall and coming through,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We’re pretty tough and can handle the tight sets. We just want to take that sense of urgency sooner.”

Iowa State made 56 kills on 142 attempts in Wednesday’s matchup, but 20 errors brought offensive efficiency down to .254.

Drake forced Iowa State to extra points twice Wednesday evening. The Bulldogs won the second set and forced the fourth and final set to a score of 26-24. Iowa State has made comeback efforts in both its first two road tournaments of the season, the Tiger Challenge and Rumble in the Rockies.

In Iowa State’s win against Troy, the Cyclones were down two sets to start the match but rallied to complete the win in five sets.
Iowa State received the edge in the blocking battle 13 to five over the Bulldogs. Freshman middle blocker Kelsey Perry contributed a solo block and six block assists. Perry will play in her first CyHawk rivalry game Friday.

“I think it’s a great confidence booster for all of us,” Perry said after the win against Drake. “We’re all excited for Iowa, it’s a great rivalry.”

Iowa currently has a record of 2-3 and is led by first-year head coach Jim Barnes. Barnes joined the Hawkeyes after six seasons as the head coach at Tulane. Previously, Barnes coached alongside Johnson-Lynch in the Big 12 for 11 seasons at Baylor.

Offensively, Iowa outside hitter Michelle Urquhart is leading the charge. She transferred, with Barnes, from Tulane to Iowa for her sophomore season. She leads the Iowa attack with 47 kills so far this season.

Iowa will enter the CyHawk matchup on a three-match losing streak. The Hawkeyes competed at the Oklahoma Invitational and the Pac 12/Big Ten Challenge to start the season. Iowa defeated Gonzaga and Florida International on Aug. 26 but has not gained a set win since.

Iowa was defeated in three sets against Oklahoma, No. 14 Washington and Colorado before taking on Iowa State.
Iowa has the most recent series win between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones. Iowa State is 7-3 in the past 10 installments of the rivalry game, with no match being played in 2020 due to COVID-19.

On Saturday, Iowa State volleyball will complete the Cyclone Challenge with a match against Wright State of the Horizon League at 11 a.m.

The Cyclones will face Wright State for the first time in school history.