Cardinal’s experience edges out Gold in Iowa State’s volleyball scrimmage

Iowa State junior Jess Schaben poses during volleyball media day on August 15.

Trevor Holbrook

Iowa State split up the volleyball team in Saturday’s Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage.

The Cardinal team ended up defeating Gold four sets to zero. The players switched to the other team occasionally, but they were mostly on the team they started with.

“[The scrimmage] is another chance to get the uniform on and get the butterflies out,” said head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. “It allows the coaches to see different combinations of players.”

Cardinal was anchored with experience, propelling them to the victory over Gold. The experience dominated Gold throughout the day, outscoring Gold by 21 points.

Leading the charge for Cardinal, was Jess Schaben.

Schaben, one of the top hitters in the Big 12, finished the scrimmage with 17 kills and 10 digs with a hitting percentage of .333.

Schaben made her second appearance after having surgery on a torn labrum in the offseason. Schaben appeared healthy in the scrimmage, hitting with strong velocity.

“[My shoulder] feels really good,” Schaben said. “It’s a good feeling to not [have to] be holding my shoulder because it hurts. It’s nice to play four games and be okay.”

Schaben also played August 12 in an exhibition against the Drake Bulldogs and in the exhibition, Schaben contributed five kills and eight digs with a hitting percentage of .118.

Cardinal also featured Genesis Miranda, who is also an outside hitter. She contributed 12 kills and six digs with a hitting percentage of .500.

“Genesis had a terrific day,” said Johnson-Lynch. “Offensively, she had a couple blocks. I thought she did a really nice job. She would be my standout.”

The Cardinal’s weapons didn’t end at those two. Grace Lazard joined the hitting party, adding 12 kills on a .208 hitting percentage.

Defensively, Cardinal had the luxury of Hali Hillegas and her gritty defense. Hillegas led the scrimmage with 25 digs.

All these players have something in common: experience. Schaben, Lazard and Hillegas are all beginning their third season at Iowa State, while Miranda is a senior.

Gold didn’t have the advantage of experience, playing mostly freshmen and sophomores. Alongside the young players, was assistant coach Jen Malcom.

Due to a lack of depth for Gold, Malcom played a majority of the match and led Gold with 12 kills.

Even with Cardinal playing smoothly, Gold challenged Cardinal in the match.

Sophomore Josie Herbst finished the match with eight kills and four digs. Freshman Meegan Hart had three kills paired with six blocks.

Freshman Avery Rhodes finished with seven kills and two blocks. Rhodes had some impressive kills against some of the top Cyclone volleyball players.

Freshman Izzy Enna added 13 digs, while fellow freshman Piper Mauck finished with 26 assists for Gold and 12 for Cardinal.

The scrimmage benefits the whole team, but it also provides a taste of competitive play for some of the younger players.

“It was a good learning opportunity,” said Mauck. “It was kind of like a game-like situation. You got to test out what works and what didn’t.”

The Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage provided a unique opportunity to dictate a competitive match. Iowa State can benefit by working on little aspects of the game before the regular season.

“It was really good to get into this kind of situation and work on our rotations because we don’t get to do that a whole lot before we start,” said Schaben.