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Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones fight hard, fall to No. 5 Texas

Morgan+Brandt+passes+volleyball+in+the+Iowa+State+vs.+Oklahoma+volleyball+game
Katarina Kotek
Morgan Brandt passes volleyball in the Iowa State vs. Oklahoma volleyball game

The Cyclones kicked off their Texas road trip Wednesday night with a match against the No. 5 team in the country. Iowa State played tough against the defending national champions but could not repeat last year’s historic upset, dropping the match in four sets (14-25, 26-24,18-25, 20-25).

Here are the three biggest takeaways from Wednesday night’s action: 

Offensive woes

The Cyclones had an uncharacteristic performance on offense Wednesday night. 

As a team, the Cyclones had a hitting percentage of just .123, well below their season average of .245. 

The offensive struggles were apparent from one of the Cyclones’ biggest stars, Nayeli Gonzalez. 

Gonzalez, the reigning Big 12 freshman of the week, had the least productive match of her young career, only putting up three kills with a hitting percentage of -.222. Those numbers fell well short of what she has typically contributed for the Cyclones, as she is averaging 11.15 kills per game with a hitting percentage of .234 on the season.

Defensive struggles

It was not just the offense that was struggling Wednesday night; the defense also performed below its standard. 

On the season, the Cyclones have allowed opponents to hit .205 on average. The Longhorns hit .285, racking up 15 more kills than the Cyclones. 

The Cyclones were also out-blocked by the Longhorns 24-16. 

At various points throughout the season, Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch has emphasized the importance of getting stronger on defense, but despite the defensive improvements throughout the season, the Longhorn offense was simply too much to handle. 

Looking ahead

The Cyclones do not have much time to reflect on Wednesday’s match.

The Cyclones now have to look forward to the second match of their Texas road trip as they head 170 miles west for a matchup with No. 22 Houston on Friday. 

That match will be a great chance to see where the Cyclones stack up in the Big 12, as Iowa State currently sits in fifth place in the conference while Houston is one spot above at fourth. 

A road win against Houston would be huge for the Cyclones as they look to grab momentum back heading into the final two matches of the regular season. 

The matchup with Houston starts at 7 p.m. Friday and can be streamed live on ESPN+.

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