‘Wow, I think we might do this’: Cyclone volleyball stuns No. 1 Texas


Tyler Coe

Cyclone players and fans huddle up as Iowa State volleyball upsets No. 1 Texas.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

Texas’ Jenna Ewert lined up to serve the ball. 

Iowa State was at match point, having forced No. 1 Texas to five sets. The undefeated Longhorns had only seen set five one other time this season, and Iowa State was on the cusp of securing a monumental upset win.

“I think in that last set, we gained a lot of confidence, and I think that really showed,” sophomore Brooke Stonestreet said. 

Ewert served, and the ball sailed past the baseline, securing an Iowa State victory. 

Down goes No. 1.

Texas held a 10-0 win streak against Iowa State headed into the match, a frustrating stat for the Cyclone veterans. The Longhorns were 14-0, including a 6-0 record in conference play, looking to continue their dominant 2022 season. 

“I think when a team that’s so great like them comes to town, we have Hilton at our back and we have a lot of great fans and a really loud atmosphere, and we just went for it, you know it’s like ‘we got nothing to lose,’” senior Annie Hatch said. 

Texas came in playing like the best team in the country. The hitters were burying kills, and Iowa State was struggling to keep pace. 

But defensive adjustments and a standout performance from Stonestreet helped the Cyclones overcome their initial struggles. Stonestreet kept the fast-paced offense in check with 25 total digs.

“Especially in that fifth set, I thought she made some pretty phenomenal plays, pursuit plays,” head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. 

Earlier in the season, Stonestreet was competing to fill a hole left by star libero Marija Popovic. The void was detrimental to Iowa State at times, but as the season progressed, Stonestreet–who started playing libero in college–developed into a playmaker for the Cyclones. 

“She’s really started to figure out the position and take off. And to be great, you have to have a great libero, and she’s really becoming that for us,” Johnson-Lynch said. 

While Iowa State had been going point for point against Texas, the team wasn’t able to truly pull ahead until late in the second set. Facing set point, a series of kills from freshman Maya Duckworth, senior Eleanor Holthaus and Hatch helped secure a comeback. 

After getting blown out 25-12 in set three, the Cyclones faced a 25-25 deadlock in the fourth set. Despite the pressure, Iowa State was even-keeled. 

“I think we don’t really get fazed because we know the game, the ebbs and flows, so we just stay patient,” Hatch said.

Iowa State earned two straight points to secure the set 27-25. After sending the match to a fifth set, the Cyclones eased into their comfort zone. 

The team had gone to a fifth set five times prior, winning its last four in a row. With the crowd on its feet, Iowa State had all the momentum in the world. 

“They just keep fighting, like we’re never gonna go away,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We just keep fighting, and in that fourth set, once we kinda tied it up again, I thought, ‘wow, I think we might do this.’”

The Cyclones never gave up a lead in the fifth set, eventually pulling away to win 15-10. The team rushed the court, and the students flew out of the stands as Iowa State took down the top-ranked team in the nation.