Iowa State volleyball looks to continue its hot streak at Baylor

Player Samara West spiked the ball onto the North Dakota’s court, winning another point for Iowa State at the women’s volleyball game on October 30th.

Trevor Holbrook

A little over two weeks ago, Iowa State was thumped on the road by Texas. Since being swept by the Longhorns, the Cyclones have been on a tear.

Iowa State has rattled off five straight wins, while only losing two sets in the process. The most recent foe for the Cyclones was North Dakota on Monday.

Typically, the Iowa State schedule is doled out with a match on Wednesday and another on Saturday during conference play.

With a non-conference match on Monday and a match-free night on Wednesday, the Cyclones benefit from a longer gap between matches.

“It’s nice to have a longer time to prepare especially on Baylor since we played not so well the last time we played them,” said redshirt senior Samara West.

The extended preparation time lands in a timely spot for the Cyclones. Not only is Iowa State in the grind of conference play, but the Cyclones are also matched up with a tough Baylor team on Saturday.

Earlier this season, the Bears were locked in on Iowa State, sweeping the Cyclones in Hilton Coliseum.

“I know when [Baylor] came here we kind of were off a little bit,” said Cyclone libero Hali Hillegas. “I think our focus really going into this week is how well can we focus, how well can we just mentally prepare ourselves to travel to Texas to play Baylor.”

Since the meeting in Ames, the Bears have assembled a win streak of their own. Baylor has won five of its last six matches, while four of those wins came via sweeps. Lending a hand in the Bears’ recent surge, has been freshman hitter Yossiana Pressley.

As she has progressed in her first season in Waco, Pressley’s stats have seen a steady inflation. Most recently, the freshman collected 17 kills in three sets against TCU on Wednesday.

In conference matches, Pressley ranks third in the Big 12 with an average of 3.74 kills per set, but the Cypress, Texas native is only second on her team. Claiming the top spot in the Big 12 is redshirt senior hitter Katie Staiger with 4.07 kills per set.

The stellar starting lineup doesn’t end with those two.

Senior hitter Camryn Freiberg, redshirt sophomore hitter Shelly Fanning and freshman setter Hannah Lockin help reinforce Baylor’s lineup.

Freiberg, Fanning and Lockin have joined Pressley and Staiger in the Big 12 leader book. Freiberg generates efficiency for the Bears with a .413 hitting percentage in conference games, placing her at third amongst Big 12 players.

Fanning anchors the defense with 1.31 blocks per set, putting her at third in the Big 12 and narrowly trailing Iowa State junior blocker Grace Lazard.

Finally, Lockin, a Des Moines native, has received the luxury of feeding all these weapons in her first collegiate season. Lockin’s 12.17 assists per set in conference matches ranks her first in the Big 12.

The Bears will have the advantage of playing at home this time around, but for one Cyclone it will also be a home game in a sense.

Freshman blocker Avery Rhodes has burst onto the scene at Iowa State, but prior to relocating to Iowa, the 6-2 blocker developed her skills in Waco, Texas.

“It’s going to be great [to go back] because that’s my old stomping ground,” Rhodes said. “A lot of my family will be there, a lot of my closest friends will be there.”

Iowa State will play at Baylor at 2 p.m.