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Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones dominate in sweep over Oklahoma

The+Cyclones+shake+hands+with+their+opponents+after+a+%2825-20%2C+25-22%2C+25-16%29+game+against+Oklahoma%2C+Hilton+Coliseum%2C+Oct.+28%2C+2023.+
Maeley Rosengren
The Cyclones shake hands with their opponents after a (25-20, 25-22, 25-16) game against Oklahoma, Hilton Coliseum, Oct. 28, 2023.

The Cyclones bounced back in a big way on Saturday with a dominant sweep over Oklahoma (25-20, 25-22, 25-16).

The combination of a strong defense and getting back to their dominant ways on offense helped the Cyclones get back on track in conference play with its first win of the weekend against the Sooners.

Here are three takeaways from Iowa State volleyball’s seventh win at home this season:

Bouncing back

After a tough road trip to BYU where the Cyclones were swept twice, they were determined to put an end to the skid.

In order to turn things around the Cyclones had to put in the work during practice.

“Practice was really tough, we switched some things up and there was more intensity which I think was for the better,” said Maya Duckworth.

“The coaches really wanted to test us mentally, because BYU wasn’t our best performance, we didn’t play our game, so this week was a lot about trying to find our rhythm again,” said Alexis Engelbrecht.

The Cyclones found their rhythm in Saturday’s match, putting together one of their more impressive performances of the season.

Stifling defense

A big reason why the Cyclones turned it around were the improvements on defense.

Last week against BYU the Cyclones allowed hitting percentages of .370 and .387, which made Iowa State have to fight from behind throughout each match.

On Saturday though, the Cyclones stepped up their game on defense. They held the Sooners to .207 on the attack and recorded eight blocks, with Engelbrecht leading the way with four.

Effective offense

Iowa State’s offense also found its form on Saturday after disappointing performances at BYU.

After hitting .089 and .207 against the Cougars, the Cyclones came back with an impressive performance, hitting .325 as a team.

Though freshman Nayeli Gonzalez led the way on offense with 11 kills, it was really a complete effort from the Cyclones that made their offense so efficient.

Kills were spread around pretty evenly. Engelbrecht had seven kills, Jordan Hopp and Duckworth each had five, followed by Morgan Brandt and Lilly Wachholz who had four and three, respectively.

“Christie [Johnson-Lynch] always talks about how we’re a team of 15, we all contribute, we’re all a big part of the point scoring,” Engelbrecht said.

“It makes it a lot easier, especially for us outsiders when our middles are getting kills,” said Duckworth.

It was clear from the start that the Sooners were on their heels on defense as they were taking attacks from all around the court.

The Cyclones will look for a repeat of their performance on Sunday  as they take on Oklahoma once again.

The match starts at noon and will be broadcast on ESPN.

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