Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State steals road win over Oklahoma


Joseph Dicklin

Spectators watch as Cyclone goes for serve against West Virginia on Oct. 18.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

Iowa State snapped its conference road losing streak with a 3-1 win over Oklahoma Saturday night. The offense overwhelmed the Sooners, leading Iowa State to a crucial victory in Norman. 

With the win, the volleyball squad has begun to work its way up the Big 12 rankings. Going winless on the road has been detrimental to Iowa State, but an undefeated conference record at home has kept the Cyclones in contention. 

Stealing a win on the road opens the door for Iowa State to compete for a top spot in the conference. 

Multiple avenues of attack

Multiple offensive players for Iowa State found success against the Oklahoma defense. Senior Solei Thomas led the Cyclones with 16 kills, but senior Eleanor Holthaus and freshman Maya Duckworth also made major contributions. 

Holthaus – who had 12 kills – provided some early offensive firepower for the Cyclones. When Oklahoma adjusted, Duckworth and Thomas kept up the offensive production. Senior Annie Hatch, who has seen more of the court recently after returning from an injury, was a kill shy of becoming Iowa State’s fourth player to reach double figures. 

Despite Holthaus’ success, Iowa State was unable to overcome the Sooners in set one. As the offense began to spread out, the Cyclones rolled to three straight-set wins. 

Earlier in the season, shutting down Holthaus was the key to taking down Iowa State. As Thomas and Duckworth become an increasingly more dangerous pair, Iowa State has the ability to rely on multiple attack options. 

Still more room to grow

Although Iowa State came away with a win, the Cyclones are still showing flashes of their youth. Minor mistakes and miscommunications cost Iowa State points, opening the door for Oklahoma to stay in the match. 

Service errors plagued Iowa State again Saturday night. The Cyclones had 13 in total, sometimes halting momentum when the team was on a run. 

Ball control has been a weakness for Iowa State this season, and has become a major focus in practice. Service errors sent the Cyclones back and poor passing sometimes put the outside hitters in precarious situations. 

Clean ball control and limited self-inflicted errors allowed the offense to work at its best. When Iowa State’s offense is at its most efficient, the Cyclones have been able to compete with the best teams in the conference. 

First road win

The win was Iowa State’s first road victory against a Big 12 opponent. Despite its undefeated home record, Iowa State has struggled to attain conference wins on the road.

Losses on the road to Kansas State and TCU set the Cyclones back initially, but a flawless home record kept the team in the conference title race. Now, with a 4-2 conference record including a win over second-ranked Baylor, Iowa State has an opportunity to work its way into the upper echelon of the Big 12.

After its win over Kansas, Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said the team was fighting for its life in the conference. Given the depth of the Big 12, winning on the road has been difficult and Iowa State needed every win it could get, she said. 

Stealing a win on the road gives the team some breathing room, and if Iowa State can maintain its dominance at home, the team can reach even greater heights.