Iowa State volleyball falls below .500 for first time since 2014


Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily

Right side Eleanor Holthaus bumps the ball to her teammates during the volleyball game against University of Oklahoma at Hilton Coliseum on Oct. 3. The Cyclones lost 3-1.

Jack Shover

For the first time since 2014, Iowa State will have a record below .500 after a 3-1 loss to Oklahoma.

“You can kinda tell people are freaking out a little bit just from talking, seeing the rankings and stuff, but I think that’s why we need to push that much more as a team and trying to figure those kinks out,” said libero Hali Hillegas.

Hillegas finished the game with 28 digs.

In 2014, Iowa State started the season 0-2 before finishing 19-10.

After the loss to Oklahoma, Iowa State is 8-9 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12.

Entering the match, Oklahoma was 9-7 and was seventh in the Big 12 which was one place behind Iowa State, who was sixth.

In the first set, Iowa State took the set 25-16. 

During the set, Oklahoma had a -.067 hitting percentage and Iowa State recorded four blocks against the Sooners. This season, the Sooners’ average hitting percentage is .219.

The next three sets saw Iowa State fall 26-24, 25-19 and 25-20.

In September and October, Iowa State has lost five games after taking the first set this season.

“Obviously, nobody likes to lose and we don’t like to lose, but it’s something that we need to take in and try to process and really grind from there,” Eleanor Holthaus said. “We need to figure out what to do to be able to pull out those wins and be able to compete.”

In the second set, Oklahoma held a 24-20 lead with the set point on the line. A Grace Lazard kill and Izzy Enna ace cut the lead to 24-21. Then, Oklahoma had an attack error that put the score at 24-22 and put Iowa State in striking distance to potentially steal the set.

To tie the game, setter Piper Mauck set up Jess Schaben for a kill, and Iowa State seemed to have secured the momentum of the match.

After the rally, Oklahoma secured a kill on their first attack and then had an ace that closed out the set 26-24.

The next set, the belated Cyclones had a .078 hitting percentage.

After recording one block in the first set, Oklahoma finished with five in each sequential set.

Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said after the game Iowa State did a bad job of keeping the ball alive after hitting it into Oklahoma’s block.

Iowa State finished the match with a .136 hitting percentage as a team, and two-time AVCA Honorable Mention All-American outside hitter Jess Schaben finished the match with a -.077 hitting percentage and eight kills.

“Both our outsides really struggled, Jess has been a rockstar for us and she just didn’t have it tonight for whatever reason,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Johnson-Lynch said a lack of production from the left-side hitter makes winning college volleyball games very difficult.

Iowa State had only two players finish with double-digit kills. Holthaus finished with 17 kills and a .464 hitting percentage and Candelaria Herrera had a .400 hitting percentage and 10 kills.

Johnson-Lynch mentioned Holthaus and Herrera as two “bright spots” from the match.

Holthaus said the team wants to do a better job at playing as one.

Earlier in the season, Johnston-Lynch emphasized trying to put together all of the significant pieces into one cohesive team.

Hillegas said the team did a good job of cutting Oklahoma’s runs during the middle of third and fourth set compared to what the team had done in matches prior.

This weekend, Iowa State’s totals in the loss column may grow as the team is set to face No. 4 Texas on the road Saturday.