Iowa State to face Wayne State, Drake, as a new setter emerges for the Cyclones

Then junior Jess Schaben attempts to block the ball during Iowa State’s second round loss to Wisconsin at the NCAA Tournament. 

Jack Shover

This Saturday, Iowa State will host two opponents for the ISU Spring Tournament. Last weekend, Iowa State tied Creighton 2-2.

At 10 a.m., Iowa State will kick off the tournament by facing Wayne State, who went 19-12 last season. Following that game, Iowa State will have a break until 1:30 p.m. when the Cyclones face Drake, who finished 23-10.

One of the aspects of the Cyclones’ game that coach Christy Johnson-Lynch wants to improve on is the team hitting shots from different spots on the court.

“We would see flashes of it [against Creighton], but I think under stress like most people we tend to revert back to what we’re comfortable with,” Johnson-Lynch said.

She also said she wants to get the team enough repetitions that they are comfortable with the new strategy when the pressure does hit.

Jess Schaben, senior outside hitter and Big 12 first team selection last season, reflected on her performance hitting different spots against Creighton.

“Probably not super well against Creighton, but it’s something like me and Josie [Herbst] have been working on and Hannah [Bailey] has been working on just throughout this season,” Schaben said.

In addition, Johnson-Lynch wants to continue to see how sophomore setter Piper Mauck develops. She also said this is the first time Mauck has had the opportunity to take control of the team and have a large amount of time on the court in game.

Johnson-Lynch said Mauck has become more comfortable and confident and has seen Mauck’s skill as a setter increase. Mauck is now able to get after the “crazy” balls and set them rather than bump set them which better sets up Iowa State’s hitters.

While Mauck has grown, the coaching staff wants to see an improvement in her setting choices.

“Our hitting percentage wasn’t that great against Creighton and there’s various reasons for that but one of them is can she continue to find ways to make our hitters successful,” Johnson-Lynch said.

New assistant coach Fiona Fonoti, three-time All-American at Nebraska, has been working with Mauck to improve her skills.

Mauck, who stands at 6 feet 1 inch tall, has been able to use her height to build a better rapport with Iowa State’s hitters.

Schaben said the hitters can make high passes to Mauck and she is still able to set those passes.

“She’s gotten to know our hitters and she’s really starting to just get in a rhythm with them too,” Schaben said.

Mauck will have plenty of time this weekend to continue building rapport with Iowa State’s hitters as she is the only setter on the Cyclone roster.