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Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State volleyball takes down Arizona to open GCU Tournament

Jordan+Hopp+celebrates+a+point+against+DePaul+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Aug.+27%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Jordan Hopp celebrates a point against DePaul at Hilton Coliseum on Aug. 27, 2023.

Iowa State is in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend for the GCU tournament. Their first opponent of the tournament was on Friday night against Arizona.

The Cyclones were able to keep their early success rolling to beat the Wildcats in four sets and remain undefeated through three games. Here are the three big takeaways from Iowa State’s first road win of the season.

Cyclones Start Quick in Each Set
The first set looked to be going the Cyclone’s way for the most part. They were able to establish multiple four-point leads, but unforced errors let Arizona climb back each time it looked like Iowa State was going to pull away.

One of these errors was on a serve when the Cyclones had a chance to end the set at 24-23. The service error let the set continue, but it was a service ace that finally gave the back-and-forth first set to the Cyclones 27-25.

The second set started out eerily similar to the first. The Cyclones were able to establish a slim lead early, seemingly never letting their lead fall under two points in the first half of the set.

Coming out of a timeout where the Cyclones led 13-10, Arizona took the momentum back, going on a 10-3 run to take a 20-16 lead.

Just when it looked like the second set would go to Arizona, the Cyclones went on a run of their own, taking the lead back at 22-21. Iowa State was able to keep the momentum for the remainder of the set, and just like in the first set, Iowa State was able to end the second with a service ace, this time from Nayeli Gonzalez.

Iowa State again jumped out to lead in the third set, out to a 19-14 lead. Yet again, Arizona would not go down easy, storming back to tie the set at 20-20. The set worked its way to 24-24 before a service error from the Cyclones and a kill by Arizona secured the third set for the Wildcats 26-24.

In the fourth set the Cyclones continued the trend of getting out to an early lead but this time they would not leave any doubt. Iowa State dominated the entire set, winning 25-12 and securing a 3-0 start to the season.

Maya Duckworth Returns
Preseason All-Big 12 setter Maya Duckworth had yet to appear in a match for the Cyclones this season as she had been dealing with nagging injuries. Duckworth essentially made her season debut in the fourth set after only being used to serve in the first three sets as it seemed Coach Johnson-Lynch was trying to ease her back into the rotation.

Duckworth recorded four kills in the fourth set, showing how important she will be to the Cyclone’s success going forward.

If she is back at 100% the Cyclones look to be even more dangerous going forward.

Cyclones Showcase a Deep Roster
Iowa State’s production was spread out between a number of players, with six players recording five kills or more in the match. Leading the way was senior Annie Hatch who notched 12 kills, followed by freshman Nayeli Gonzalez with 8.

Jordan Hopp and Lilly Wachholz each had 6 kills and Morgan Brandt recorded 5 kills, 34 assists, and 11 digs.

Friday’s match was a great showing for all members of a very young Iowa State team. If Iowa State can get this many strong contributions on a nightly basis, they will be on their way to another successful season.

Iowa State will look to continue its winning ways on Saturday, with matches against Long Island and Grand Canyon at noon and 9:00 pm respectively. Both matches will be streamed live on ESPN+.

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