Iowa State moves away from Big 12 play to take on Chicago State


Daniel Jacobi II

Senior Annie Hatch goes for a kill against TCU Oct. 28.

Iowa State will deviate from Big 12 play, taking on Chicago State Tuesday night. The Cyclones will look to maintain their positive momentum after earning a seventh straight win.

The volleyball team has been firing on all cylinders, overcoming TCU 3-1 Friday after a loss to the Horned Frogs earlier in the season. Although Iowa State will take a break from the intensity of conference play, the approach will remain the same.

“We try to keep everything as uniform as possible in how we prepare, so the girls understand and know what to expect coming into a match,” assistant coach Marc Neef said.

Chicago State is 6-13 overall with a 2-9 record on the road. The Cougars are a lower caliber of opponent compared to Big 12 teams, but the unfamiliarity could provide a challenge for Iowa State.

“We just don’t know them as well as our conference opponents that we face twice a year, year in and year out,” Neef said.

The Cyclones will enter the match ranked No. 25 in the AVCA coach’s poll. The ranking came after Iowa State secured its seventh consecutive Big 12 win, along with wins over the other two ranked Big 12 opponents, No. 11 Baylor and No. 1 Texas.

“It’s really rewarding,” senior Annie Hatch said. “I feel like we’ve been putting in the work and getting a lot of good wins, so it’s nice to see that [ranking].”

Iowa State has been clicking on the offensive end recently. The team has seen multiple players reach double figures throughout the seven-match win streak.

Over the past three weeks, offensive aspects like attacker decision-making and setter locations have improved, Neef said. One of the biggest difference-makers, however, has been the reintegration of Hatch into the lineup.

“Her decision-making as an attacker has always been one of her strengths,” Neef said. “I think on top of that she’s doing a great job blocking, making sure our block is in a good location to be successful.”

Following an injury prior to the season, Hatch first saw the floor against Kansas State, where she received two serves in Iowa State’s 0-3 loss. But, her six-kill performance in the next match against Kansas helped the Cyclones kick off their win streak.

As she has seen more of the floor, Iowa State’s offense has become progressively more efficient, with Hatch most recently leading the team with 13 kills in the win over TCU. Hatch’s presence on the court will be a key factor against Chicago State, as the Cyclones aim to extend their winning streak to eight.

“I think [the team] trusts each other a lot, and so I just try and focus on adding energy, adding excitement and helping raise spirits,” Hatch said.

Iowa State will take on Chicago State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Hilton Coliseum.