Cyclones continue to improve in Iowa State Spring Tournament


Chris Jorgensen/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State sophomore Hali Hillegas reacts to a serve while scrimmaging Northern Iowa on Saturday. Iowa State won all three of their games at the annual scrimmage that was held in Hilton Coliseum.

Andy Stubblefield

Improvement is the name of the game during the spring season and the Iowa State volleyball team certainly showed it has gotten better in the second tournament of the spring season.

“[We played] a ton better than last weekend,” coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “I was encouraged to see every part of our game get a lot better.”

The Cyclones dropped five of the eight sets they played at the UNI Spring Tournament a week before hosting the Iowa State Spring Tournament on Saturday.

Iowa State dropped only one set the entire day inside Hilton Coliseum.

“I think compared to last weekend we are definitely meshing better as a team,” freshman setter Piper Mauck said. “Overall, we were better and more consistent.”

The Cyclones began their day against Omaha. Set one began with several lead changes and ties before the Cyclones pulled away to take it, 25-17. Hali Hillegas and the rest of the back-line held Omaha to a .043 hitting percentage in the first set.

Set two was more one-sided in favor of the Cyclones, as they took the set, 25-14 while recording 20 kills with a .515 hitting percentage.

Iowa State completed a sweep of Omaha with a 15-13 win in set three.

“I think everyone was just playing relaxed and being aggressive,” senior Alexis Conaway said. 

In match two of the day, the Cyclones rolled to a 25-15 win over North Dakota in set one.

Iowa State fell behind 3-0 in set two against the Fighting Hawks before storming back to take a 8-4 lead. Defense aided the Cyclones, as they held North Dakota to a .000 percentage in the set and went on to win, 25-18.

The Cyclones completed their second straight sweep after taking set three, 15-10, once again holding North Dakota to a .000 hitting percentage.

The final match of the day pitted Iowa State against in-state rival Northern Iowa.

In set one, it was Iowa State that held UNI to a .021 hitting percentage, which allowed it to take a 25-20 over the Panthers.

Set two was all Cyclones at the beginning, as they jumped out to a 17-9 lead over the Panthers. UNI was able to claw back to make the score 19-16.

“[UNI] started playing a lot better,” Johnson-Lynch said. “They started blocking some balls and hitting some balls and we started playing worse.”

“I think we got kind of quiet and deflated when they started coming back.”

Iowa State extended its lead back to 22-16, but the Panthers scored nine of the final ten points to down the Cyclones, 25-23. Iowa State and UNI would play just two sets in the match.

“I think mentally we just relaxed,” Conaway said. “It just goes to show that any team can play if you give them the chance.”

Iowa State has two remaining matchups this spring against Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Cyclones’ match with the Badgers is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Manchester, Iowa. Iowa State and Minnesota will face off 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Minneapolis.

“We have two very, very good teams that we’re going to play Friday, Saturday so we’ll have to play up even another level next week,” Johnson-Lynch said.