Cyclone offseason looks bright for young team


Iowa State volleyball faced Penn State on Sept. 6. Penn State won 3-0.

Sam Stuve

After missing the NCAA tournament last season, the Iowa State volleyball team bounced back and made the 2019 NCAA tournament, making it the 13th time in 15 seasons that Iowa State has earned a spot in the postseason tournament. 

The Cyclones lost to the 15th-ranked Creighton Bluejays 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA tournament and finished this season with a record of 17-12 (8-8 Big 12). The Cyclones finished in fourth place out of nine in the Big 12. 

En route to finishing the season with 17 wins, Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch earned her 300th career victory with a 3-0 victory over West Virginia in October.  

Seventeen wins is the second-lowest win total by an Iowa State team with Johnson-Lynch at the helm since 2005. Johnson-Lynch led Iowa State to 16-15 record in her first season.

Iowa State earned a 17-12 record with a young team, as 11 of its 16 players have at least two seasons of eligibility left. Iowa State only had one senior this season, outside hitter Josie Herbst. 

Herbst finished her senior season with a .228 hitting percentage and scored 278.5 points, which was fourth-best on the team. 

Excluding Herbst, all Cyclones are expected to return to the program unless one transfers out of the program. 

The Cyclones return six players who were in the top 10 in the Big 12 in a statistic.

Sophomore right-side player Eleanor Holthaus led the Cyclones in points and kills with 361.5 points and 308 kills. Holthaus finished sixth in the Big 12 in points and seventh in kills. Junior middle blocker Candelaria Herrera led Iowa State in hitting percentage (minimum 3.0 TA/Set) with a .314 hitting percentage, which is tied for fifth in the Big 12.

One of the best setters in the Big 12 is a Cyclone, junior Piper Mauck. Mauck finished the season with 996 and averaged 10.72 assists per set, which is fourth in the Big 12. The Cyclones also had one of the best servers in the Big 12, freshman libero Michal Schuler. Schuler hit 30 aces this season and averaged .31 aces per set, which is third in the Big 12. 

Leading Iowa State, the middle, is redshirt sophomore middle blocker Avery Rhodes. Rhodes had 111 blocks, which is the fourth most in the Big 12, and 1.04 blocks per set, which is seventh.   

Rounding out Iowa State’s statistical leaders is junior libero Izzy Enna, who dug 343 balls, the fourth highest in the Big 12, and averaged 3.21 digs per set, which is third in the Big 12.

Holthaus, Mauck and Herrera earned a spot on the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) All-Midwest Region Team.  

Joining the Cyclones next season are the class of 2020 recruits.

With such a young team that has proven to be able to produce on the court, the Cyclones should feel optimistic heading into the offseason.