‘We could be great’: Iowa State looks to improve before facing Texas Tech


Daniel Jacobi II

Head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch and her team huddle during a timeout in Iowa State’s upset win over No. 13 Baylor.

Iowa State’s 2022 volleyball season has been a puzzle.

That’s the analogy Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch used earlier this year as she shifted between the 5-1 and 6-2 offensive systems and several personnel groupings. As head coach, Johnson-Lynch needed to solve the puzzle, she said.

The Cyclones settled on the 6-2 systems and then went on an eight-match win streak spanning October and November. The team took down two ranked conference opponents and appeared in the national rankings themselves.

Iowa State players won Big 12 Player of the Week honors during the four-week long win-streak.

But the final piece of the puzzle, according to the head coach, is the serve and pass game. The Cyclones play Texas Tech on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum. Only four matches remain until the postseason.

“I always think serve and pass can get better for us,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I think we’re good, we could be great. Serve and pass needs to keep inching along.”

At Texas Tech on October 21, the Cyclones swept the Red Raiders while limiting the opponent to an .050 hitting percentage. In that match, Iowa State picked up its first sweep of the season and second consecutive road Big 12 win. Overall, Texas Tech has a 14-11 record with a 3-9 record in conference play.

Most recently, Iowa State has lost two consecutive matches to Big 12 conference opponents. On November 4, Iowa State’s winning streak was snapped by Kansas State at Hilton Coliseum. The Wildcats completed a season sweep of the Cyclones after winning the match in four sets.

On Wednesday, the No. 1 ranked Texas Longhorns evened the season series with Iowa State by winning in three sets on the Texas home court. Iowa State holds the only win over the top-ranked Longhorns of the season. Iowa State unseated Texas as the only undefeated team in college volleyball when the Cyclones completed an upset win over Texas on October 19.

Iowa State has an 8-4 record in the Big 12 this season and sits alone in third place in the Big 12 conference.

“If you’re great, you can beat anyone,” Johnson-Lynch said. “You can play at the highest level.”

Iowa State ranks second in the conference in total service aces so far in the 2022 season with 135 in its 103 sets. The Cyclones rank sixth in service aces per set with 1.31.

The defensive-minded Cyclones led by libero Brooke Stonestreet are first in total digs among Big 12 conference teams with 1414. Stonestreet’s 431 digs and 4.54 digs per set rank first and second among all defenders in the Big 12.

“It’s a team effort,” Johnson-Lynch said. “This win-in-a-row has been a team effort. We’ve taken turns a little bit. When we’re all playing good, we’re really, really good.”