Three Big Takeaways: Cyclone volleyball drops Big 12 opener


Daniel Jacobi II

Eleanor Holthaus digs the ball against Northern Iowa on Sept. 13.

Anthony Hanson, Sports Reporter

Iowa State volleyball began conference play Saturday with a loss in a road matchup against TCU.

The Cyclones returned to the court for the first time since sweeping the Billiken Classic a week ago. But, during Saturday’s Big 12 opener the more efficient Horned Frogs earned wins in the final three sets and secured the match 3-1. 

Senior outside hitter Audrey Nalls led TCU and the match with 16 kills at a .333 hitting percentage. 

Iowa State earned the win in the first set in extra points 26-24. But TCU won each of the next three sets by at least six points. 

TCU block slows ISU

The Horned Frogs made 16.0 total blocks in the match’s four sets. 

Iowa State senior Eleanor Holthaus’ 12 kills were the most of any Cyclone in Saturday’s match. The Iowa State offense was slowed by the TCU block but Holthaus completed the kill 12 times on 29 attacks with four errors. 

TCU’s Mykayla Myers made eight block assists in the match. She was joined by teammate Madilyn Cole with seven more block assists. Iowa State’s Alexis Engelbrecht made eight total blocks but the Horned Frogs won the blocking battle 16.0 to 12.0. 

TCU’s blockers slowed Iowa State to a .126 hitting percentage. The Horned Frogs hitters managed to be the more efficient squad, ending Saturday’s match with a .226 hitting percentage. 

TCU made six service aces on Saturday while the Cyclones made zero. 

Duckworth returns to Texas

Iowa State freshman Maya Duckworth continued her standout freshman season with double-digit kills on Saturday. 

Duckworth was the tournament MVP at the Billiken Classic. She used 46 kills over the three matches to lift her team to three victories. On Saturday, Duckworth returned to her home state of Texas for the first time in her collegiate career. She earned a career-high 18 kills while facing St. Louis. 

The native of Hurst, Texas was a four-year standout for Birdville High School near Fort Worth. In her homecoming on Saturday, Duckworth added energy to the Iowa State attack, with 10 kills, four digs and five blocks.

Duckworth is second behind Holthaus in the Iowa State lineup in kills. She averages 2.62 kills per set. 

Big 12 play continues

Iowa State will next face No. 14 ranked Baylor in Hilton Coliseum as Big 12 conference play continues. Iowa State was picked third in the 2022 Big 12 Volleyball preseason poll and the Cyclones’ next conference test was picked to finish second. 

Baylor has a 11-2 overall record and most recently defeated TCU 3-1 in Waco. Baylor is behind only No. 1 ranked Texas among Big 12 teams in the latest national rankings. 

The Cyclones and Bears will face off Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum.