No. 25 Iowa State focused on ‘day-to-day’


Daniel Jacobi II / Iowa State Daily

Iowa State senior Annie Hatch plays the ball at the net against TCU on Oct. 28, 2022.

Iowa State volleyball reached the national rankings this week and has earned eight-straight victories.

But with Iowa State matching its win total from last season Tuesday night against Chicago State, the team is still resisting the temptation to look ahead to the postseason.

The Cyclones return to the court at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Hilton Coliseum to take on Kansas State. Iowa State has only six matches remaining before the regular season ends Nov. 23.

“I think we’re so focused on day-to-day,” Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “We really don’t talk much about records or where we’re at or NCAAs. Let’s get better today, and let’s get ready and play hard for our next match.”

Iowa State earned national recognition last week for its eight-match win streak when it entered the AVCA Coaches Poll at 25. The Cyclones, with wins over two top-25 teams, appeared in the poll for the first time since 2020.

In Iowa State’s next match, it will return to Big 12 conference play to face the Kansas State Wildcats for the second time this season.

Iowa State’s last matchup with Kansas State ended with the Wildcats sweeping the Cyclones in three sets. The Oct. 2 loss for Iowa State was its last loss before the team began its current eight-match win streak.

After losing to Kansas State, Iowa State returned home to face Kansas, and a key piece of Iowa State’s win streak returned to the court in full.

In Iowa State’s last matchup with Kansas State, Annie Hatch appeared for the first time this season. Hatch had been sidelined with an injury at the beginning of the 2022 season and played only two sets in the Iowa State loss and did not make any kills or attempts.

Since Hatch made her first appearance on the court this year, the Cyclones are 8-1. The senior outside hitter has contributed double-digit kills three times during the Iowa State run and earned Offensive Player of the Week honors in the Big 12 Oct. 25.

“We are playing so much harder than we did two months ago,” Johnson-Lynch said. “Annie [Hatch] has been a difference maker.”

Johnson-Lynch said another difference maker had been the development of Cyclone libero Brooke Stonestreet. The libero position has been key for Iowa State in 2022, with the need to replace the 2021 Big 12 Libero of the Year, Marija Popovic.

Stonestreet won her second consecutive Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week award Nov. 1. The leader of the Iowa state defense has tallied more than 20 digs four times during Iowa State’s eight-match win streak.

The serve and pass game is where Iowa State can elevate even further as the postseason approaches, Johnson-Lynch said.

When Iowa State last faced Kansas State Oct. 2, the Wildcats enjoyed success from the service line. Kansas State recorded 11 service aces against the Cyclone defense, led by four from senior middle blocker Sydney Bolding.

Since beating Iowa State, Kansas State has posted a 2-5 record in Big 12 games.