Passing and serving hurts Iowa State against Kansas


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Ciara Capezio, junior, and Jess Schaben, freshman, wait for the ball during the game against Nebraska Saturday afternoon. The Cyclones lost 3-1.

Brian Mozey

Kansas hitter Madison Rigdon rose up above the net at Hilton Coliseum on Tuesday night, making the kill for the Jayhawks that won the second set 28-26 — a set that would later determine the entire match.

No. 10 Kansas (20-1, 8-1 Big 12) defeated Iowa State (13-7, 6-3 Big 12) overall record in four sets on Wednesday because of the momentum change in the second set, led by right side hitter Kelsie Payne. The Cyclones’ inability to pass and serve contributed heavily to the defeat.

“I think if we do win the second set, it would make it a lot harder for them coming out of the half,” said senior Caitlin Nolan.

Iowa State took the first set, 25-20, and had the momentum on their side going into the second set. After a 9-4 deficit in the second set, Iowa State turned it around and made it a tie game, but ultimately fell 28-26.

ISU coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said the players had a strong attitude in the locker room at the half, and she had a good feeling going into the third set. Kansas thought another way and took care of the Cyclones in the third with a 25-15 set win.

Johnson-Lynch noticed the lack of passing and serving in the second set, but the third set made it eye opening. The opportunities were available for Iowa State, but the players couldn’t capitalize and consistently made attack and serving errors.

“We served them like crazy in the first set to get them off the net,” Johnson-Lynch said. “In the other sets, I had five or six slashes in a row to indicate bad pass, bad pass, bad pass.”

Besides passing and serving, Iowa State also failed to defend the dominance of Payne on the right side. Payne had 26 kills with a .397 hitting percentage, which edged Kansas over Iowa State in the long run.

Johnson-Lynch wanted more defense on Payne in the third and fourth sets after a dominant second set, but there was no way to stop her. She would jump higher and hit harder than any Iowa State defender.

“Kelsie Payne was unbelievable,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I haven’t seen many performances like that. She was unstoppable.”

The dominance of Payne and the entire Kansas team has made Iowa State’s chances of winning a Big 12 championship this season unlikely. The Cyclones need some other conference teams to put a dent into the Jayhawks’ record, and Iowa State will also need to win against Texas in November.

As for this weekend against Oklahoma, the focus will be on passing and serving to make sure Iowa State can go 2-0 against the Sooners in the regular season.

“Passing and serving [are] something that we’re known for in the Big 12,” Nolan said. “We will be emphasizing these two in practice this week to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”