Cyclone volleyball looking to even out Big 12 record


Daniel Jacobi

Junior Alexis Engelbrecht and senior Mariah Mitchell go for a block against No. 13 Baylor Sept. 28.

After a straight-set loss to Kansas State, Iowa State is 0-2 on the road in conference play. The Cyclones are returning home and aiming to even out their Big 12 record.

The volleyball squad has shown up strong in big games this season, taking down Iowa and No. 13 Baylor in front of a lively home crowd. The team will face off against Kansas in prime time Friday night, setting up another potential Big 12 win.

While the non-conference slate was challenging enough, Big 12 play has proved to be more arduous. The league’s depth makes every match a fight and turns winning on the road into an uphill battle.

“Everybody’s really good; everybody beats each other up, you know,” head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “It’s hard to get road wins, so you gotta work your butt off to try and get some of those.” Continuous challenges on the road mean winning at home is even more valuable.

Iowa State found success at home so far this season. The Cyclones hold a 4-1 record in Hilton Coliseum, dropping their only home match to Northern Iowa.

One key factor has been the impact of the crowd in Hilton. Against Iowa, 5,015 fans, the third-largest volleyball crowd in program history, saw the Cyclones overcome their in-state rival. A crowd of 2,642 fans, punctuated by a full student section, watched Iowa State upset a ranked Baylor team.

“The crowd was just awesome, having like a ton of students and a ton of fans, and I think that helped out with us having success,” sophomore Brooke Stonestreet said. “Friday, hopefully, it will be just like that. And bringing a lot of energy and fans into Hilton, I think, will help us out.”

To secure a win against a tough Kansas opponent, Iowa State will need to clean up its passing and serving. Poor passing limited the offense’s efficiency, and the team finished with eight service errors.

Taking care of the ball has been a season-long challenge for Iowa State and has often made a difference in losses. Although the season is well underway, the Cyclones are still working to make adjustments.

“I think we learned a little bit [at Kansas State] and identified some things we could really work at, so we’ve just been throwing them into our practice time,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Iowa State will take on Kansas at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Hilton Coliseum.