Piper Mauck is not your typical freshman setter

Garrett Kroeger

Iowa State volleyball will kickoff its’ season this Friday. If the fans in attendance see a Cyclone doing a little dance after a score in a No. 11 jersey, that is freshman setter Piper Mauck.

Being a collegiate volleyball setter is hard, no matter what year a player is.

For a freshman, it is even tougher. According to head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, it is like being the starting quarterback as a freshman. However, Mauck is not a normal first-year setter.

Ever since she first arrived on campus, Mauck has been garnering outstanding reviews from her teammates and coaches.

“(Mauck) brings a passion for the game,” said senior Alexis Conaway. “When she is playing, she will give everything that she can to get that set up there and just celebrates so well afterwards.”

While normal freshmen begin their collegiate careers in the fall, Mauck actually began her Cyclone career last year during Iowa State’s spring season. So, she is little further ahead of typical first-years.

Typically, Johnson-Lynch does not recommend freshman enrolling and practicing early. However, due to the setter situation entering this year, Mauck was a special exception.

“[Iowa State] had a setter who left that was two-years older than me who they were not planning on [leaving],” Mauck said. “They let me know a year in advance and I just decided it was the best option for me.”

Despite the valuable experience Mauck has gained, she was hesitant at graduating high school early.

“At first, I was like ‘No way, I’m never doing that’,” Mauck said.

However, Mauck realized she would get better coaching and be more fully prepared for this season.

The decision of enrolling early has been beneficial for Mauck.

By joining the Cyclones during the spring, Mauck has become more comfortable with the collegiate style of play than the freshmen who joined the program this fall. In addition, she has numerous collegiate matches under her belt. Plus, Mauck has been getting comfortable with Iowa State’s 6-2 system.

“Freshman year of high school was the last time I played in the 6-2,” Mauck said. “It is kind of a good transition for me because I am not playing all the way around six right away. It is kind of a good way to slowly get into the swing of things here.”

This is an important year for Mauck according to Johnson-Lynch. This is the season where she has to continue to grow, get better and gain experience.

The good thing for Mauck, she has senior setter Monique Harris, who is coming off a summer of training with Team USA, to learn from.

“They can chat and talk to each other about what is working and what they are seeing,” Johnson-Lynch said. “Monique is such a great leader and mentor. She is very experienced. So, she can help Piper by either calming her down or tell her what she is seeing. It is a nice combo.”

Harris enrolled early like Mauck, so the senior has been helping the freshman along the way.

While helping ease Mauck’s transition, Harris has also given the freshmen tips about making sure to give every hitter a great ball every time.

Despite being a freshman, Johnson-Lynch sees tremendous potential in Mauck. As the decade-plus long Cyclone coach put it, “the potential is unlimited”. And expect to see a lot of Mauck this season because Johnson-Lynch has stated she will play a big role in the setter position.

Every freshman has nerves before they start their collegiate careers. Mauck is no exception.

Nerves aside, Mauck is excited for the season to start. She is ready to serve passes that lead to high velocity kills that get the crowd going.

“I had a really good time playing Drake,” Mauck said. “Just getting the experience to play in front of the fans in Hilton is really fun.”