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Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State edges out win over GCU to improve to 5-0

Jordan+Hopp+attempts+to+block+a+DePaul+hit+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Aug.+27%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Jordan Hopp attempts to block a DePaul hit at Hilton Coliseum on Aug. 27, 2023.

The Cyclone’s final match of the GCU Tournament was on Saturday night against the hosting Grand Canyon.

The Cyclones defeated GCU in five sets (25-20, 25-13, 23-25, 20-25, 15-11). In doing so, Iowa State moved to 5-0 for the first time since 2017. Here are three takeaways from the Cyclones’ fifth straight win.

Career night for Jordan Hopp
Hopp led an impressive performance from the Iowa State blockers.

The Cyclones had a total of 16 kills on the night. Hopp recorded six solo blocks and assisted on three more. Two of her blocks came back-to-back in the fifth set, giving Iowa State all of the momentum it needed to take home the victory.

It wasn’t just her blocking performance that stood out. Hopp also recorded nine kills on the night with a stellar .562 hitting percentage which led the team.

Morgan Brandt continues to shine
Setter Morgan Brandt continued her impressive start to her sophomore season against GCU.

She was named MVP at the Cardinal and Gold challenge and brought the same level of performance to Arizona.

On Saturday night Brandt recorded a career-high 49 assists, crushing her previous best of 34.

Brandt also recorded three aces, two blocks, two kills and 12 digs, which gave her a third double-double of the season.

Brandt has shown match after match that she will be a top contributor for the Cyclones this season.

Big night for Cyclone hitters
It should be no surprise at this point that Annie Hatch, Nayeli Gonzalez and Maya Duckworth put up impressive numbers once again.

Gonzalez led the team in kills, recording 17 with a career-high .300 hitting percentage. She also recorded an ace, three blocks and seven digs to continue her impressive freshman season.

Hatch recorded six digs, two aces, and 11 kills with an efficient .310 hitting percentage, just another all-around impressive performance from the senior, which has become expected.

If there was any lingering doubt on Duckworth’s health it was dispelled on Saturday. The sophomore recorded her first double-double of the season, with 14 kills and 12 digs. She also led the team in aces with three.

Having her back at full health is imperative if the Cyclones want to continue their early season success.

Eyes turn to the Cy-Hawk series as Iowa State will take its undefeated record to Iowa City for a battle against the Hawkeyes at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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