Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones ‘take care of business’ against Chicago State


Daniel Jacobi / Iowa State Daily

Iowa State senior Eleanor Holthaus makes an attempt in her team’s win against Chicago State on Nov. 1, 2022.

Iowa State volleyball stepped out of its conference schedule Tuesday night and secured a sweep against visiting Chicago State.

The Cyclones continued their win streak and earned their third sweep in the last four matches. Iowa State entered the matchup with seven consecutive conference wins.

Iowa State volleyball had not earned a sweep before Oct. 21 of this season.

Iowa State has now won 12 of its last 13 sets after winning Tuesday night by scores of 25-18, 25-23 and 25-21.

“Taking care of business against a team that you don’t really know much about is really important,” senior Eleanor Holthaus said postgame. “We did that tonight.”

Iowa State and Chicago State had only faced off four times before Tuesday night’s match.

Holthaus was the team leader with 12 kills and three service aces.

Significance of a sweep

Wins in straight sets have not come easy for Iowa State volleyball in 2022. The No. 25 ranked Cyclones went 20 matches before finding their first 3-0 victory Tuesday night. Iowa State won matches 3-1 eight times before Oct. 21 but did not complete a sweep of an opponent.

With Iowa State recently gaining eight straight wins, more sweeps may be a symptom of the Cyclone mentality.

“I think it shows we are being disciplined,” junior hitter Solei Thomas said. “They were scrappy. So, staying disciplined and consistent on our side was really important.”

Thomas earned five kills against Chicago State on 11 attempts. The transfer from Clemson added four block assists and finished second on her team behind Holthaus in total points.

“That’s a sign of maturity that we could do this in three,” Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said.

Iowa State recently completed two sweeps on the road at Texas Tech and West Virginia.

“Simple and unfazed”

Chicago State connected for 41 kills in Tuesday’s match, while Iowa State made 34. The Cougars were also able to out-dig the defensive-minded Cyclones by 15, with the final margin being 57 to 42 digs by the Cyclones.

Chicago State offered a contrasting style to the Big 12 opponents that have made up Iowa State’s recent schedule. A different serving style and rhythm are what made the Cougars tough to play, Johnson-Lynch said.

“We don’t get rattled,” Thomas said. “We have a lot of resilience in our team.”

But for Iowa State, a different look wasn’t enough to slow momentum.

“We play simple and unfazed,” Holthaus said. “Whether we are down or ahead we just stay on course. We know what’s working for us right now and we’re clicking.”

Serve and pass make the difference

The Chicago State hitters out-produced Iowa State in the match, but the Cyclones were able to make up the difference with consistent serving and passing.

The Cyclones totaled nine service aces, and the Chicago State offense finished with 20 miscues on 107 attempts.

In the first set, Chicago State errors made the difference.

The Cougars committed seven errors in the first, and the Cyclones finished the set with a seven-point lead. Chicago State posted seven errors in the second and six in the third set of the match.

Five Cyclones made a difference from the service line, totaling nine service aces for Iowa State. Holthaus was the match leader with three, while senior Kate Shannon and Jaden Newsome contributed two additional aces.

Iowa State also made nine aces in Friday night’s win against TCU.

“Serve and pass can be better for us,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I think we’re good [with serve and pass]. If you’re great you beat anyone.”