Freshman Piper Mauck gaining valuable experience during spring season


Head volleyball coach Christy Johnson-Lynch calls out a play during a game against Wichita State on Aug. 26, 2016. The Cyclones would go on to defeat the Shockers 3-0.

Andy Stubblefield

Gaining a head start and valuable experience is key in any sport, especially for a young athlete fresh out of high school.

That’s why Iowa State volleyball early enrollee Piper Mauck decided to graduate early from Des Moines Roosevelt High School and join the Cyclones for their 2017 spring season.

“[Mauck] will be that much farther ahead in August,” coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said. “She’ll learn a lot these next few weeks. She has a huge jump start on the season.”

Graduating high school and enrolling early in college is a decision most commonly seen in football but the trend has been carrying over to volleyball in recent years.

By joining the Cyclones during the spring, Mauck will be more comfortable with the system than the freshmen who join in the fall. In addition, she will have numerous collegiate matches under her belt before her freshman season begins.

Mauck did not plan on enrolling early, but she realized that the level of coaching at the collegiate level could give her a leg up come fall.

“I figured coming [to Ames] would give me a step up to be ready for the actual season next fall,” Mauck said.

With all the advantages that come with enrolling early, the decision bears many unique challenges as well.

“[Mauck] is the only one in her class that is here,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She came mid-semester when everyone else has already been here and she’s missing out on what all her friends are doing back home.”

Despite being in Ames for less than a semester, Mauck is mature beyond her years.

“[Mauck] is such a mature person and has handled it all so well,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I don’t think anyone would guess that she is a senior who graduated early.”

Mauck will provide the Cyclones with size at the setting position that will enable her to be a great blocker and attacker at the net.

Mauck saw her first collegiate volleyball action at the UNI Spring Tournament, where she was able to shake off the first-time jitters.

“I thought [Mauck] looked better as the day went on,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She was probably a little bit nervous to start but looked more and more comfortable as the day went on.”

The Cyclones will get another opportunity to improve when they host the Iowa State Spring Tournament on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State is scheduled to play Omaha at 10 a.m., North Dakota at 11:15 a.m. and UNI at 1:30 p.m.

Johnson-Lynch will likely continue experimenting between a 5-2 and a 6-1 system with different combinations of players.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to mix up the lineups and just get a groove of things,” Mauck said.