Cyclones to finish non-conference schedule in St. Louis


Daniel Jacobi II

Head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch watches from the bench as senior Eleanor Holthaus digs the ball during a loss to Northern Iowa.

Iowa State volleyball will take to the road to compete at one final tournament-style event. The Cyclones will face St. Louis, Kansas City and Missouri State Friday and Saturday in St. Louis.
The Cyclones will have one final tune-up before Big 12 play begins Sept. 24 against TCU. Iowa State will attempt to bounce back from its loss Tuesday night against Northern Iowa. The Panthers beat the Cyclones 3-1 and ended a four-game homestand that included wins against Iowa, Drake and Wright State but also inconsistent performances by the team.
Head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said Iowa State is not where it wants to be after its win against Drake. After the team’s loss Tuesday night, Johnson-Lynch asked her team for more consistency.
“We’re trying so many different things just trying to find an answer,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I’m still really optimistic about the talent we have on this team. There’s answers in there somewhere.”
The Cyclones were seeking their fifth consecutive win Tuesday night but lost to the Bulldogs. Johnson-Lynch and the Cyclone coaching staff showed a different lineup combination in each of Tuesday’s four sets.
While emerging talent, such as seniors Solei Thomas and Mariah Mitchell, are finding more opportunities on the court, the Cyclones have no consistent lineup, their head coach said.
Thomas posted a season-high of 10 kills Tuesday night during the loss to Northern Iowa. Thomas played 11 sets last season, her first with Iowa State. Mitchell, who played in 30 sets last season and earned 39 kills, is second on Iowa State in kills this season while filling a larger role for the team.
True freshman Maya Duckworth is third on the team in kills with 62 during the 2022 season, playing in eight of the team’s ten matchups.
“You need a consistent lineup to find a rhythm in your play,” Johnson-Lynch said. “Especially by the time conference comes, we want to be a little more settled.”
Sophomore Allie Petry is another member of Iowa State’s changing lineup combinations. She received her first two starts of the season against Wright State and Northern Iowa. Petry earned 28 digs at the libero position Tuesday and a new career high.
A bright spot for Iowa State has been its elite blocking ability displayed in the first ten matches of the season. The Cyclones have tallied 111 blocks so far in 2022 and lead the nation. Iowa State has 2.78 blocks per set which ranks them 18th nationally. Freshman Kelsey Perry leads the Big 12 with 1.56 blocks per set.
Three matches at the Billiken Classic on Friday and Saturday separate Iowa State from its Big 12 conference schedule.
On Friday, the Cyclones will face Kansas City at 3 p.m. for the first match of the Billiken Classic. Kansas City is currently 3-7 and recently lost in straight sets to Big 12 opponent Kansas State. Kansas City will play Missouri State on Friday at 10 a.m. before facing the Cyclones.
On Saturday, Iowa State will play a doubleheader to complete non-conference play. First, the Cyclones will take on Missouri State at 1 p.m., then face the host school, St. Louis, at 7 p.m.