Iowa State to face Big 12’s worst offense in West Virginia on Saturday


Middle blockers Josie Herbst and Avery Rhodes and libero/defensive specialist Izzy Enna celebrate after scoring on South Dakota during the home game Sept. 3.

Jack Shover

Iowa State (10-4, 1-1 Big 12) will look to climb up the Big 12 standings after losing to No. Texas in the teams conference opener and then beating Kansas in a sweep on Wednesday.

The Cyclones will play West Virginia (8-6, 0-2 Big 12) on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Morgantown, West Virginia. West Virginia has suffered two losses to Oklahoma and Texas Tech to open its 2019 conference schedule and after Saturday, they will likely be 0-3 in the Big 12.

On the attack, the Mountaineers have been inefficient in creating point opportunities and own a .204 team hitting percentage, which ranks dead last in the Big 12.

Three players for the Mountaineers have over 100 kills, but only Briana Lynch — hitting .321 — has a hitting percentage over .200.

Meanwhile, the Cyclones have a team hitting percentage of .265, which is the second best percentage in the conference and the team has four players — nearly five — with over 100 kills. Josie Herbst, Eleanor Holthaus, Candelaria Herrera and Annie Hatch are those four players and Avery Rhodes only needs one more kill to eclipse 100 on the season.

Of those five players, the lowest hitting percentage by an individual is .233 by Hatch, a freshman.

Iowa State is coming off of a solid hitting night against Kansas on Wednesday where the team hit .283.

“Offensively, although we weren’t real balanced, you know, for the most part everybody hit pretty well on the night and so that continues to be wonderful,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Johnson-Lynch said she is impressed with the level at which Herbst is playing at this season and believes she is a player, who is currently surpassing her potential.

Herbst had 15 kills to lead all players against Kansas and she said that the team have been working on the range of their shots.

Another area of improvement for the Cyclones is the block, which was the highlight of the night for Johnson-Lynch. Against West Virginia, the team will have more opportunities to grow more confident against the Mountaineers attack.

At setter and libero, both Michal Schuler and Piper Mauck have been cleared to play but Johnson-Lynch withheld both against the Jayhawks. Schuler and Mauck collided in practice and suffered concussions, which led to the Cyclones starting Jenna Brandt at setter and Izzy Enna at libero.

“Luckily, we have great depth in the setting and libero position that the other two were able to step in and give us the win,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Brandt had 31 assists and six digs while Enna had 11 digs and a service ace against Kansas as the Cyclones’ starters.

With West Virginia being one of the weaker teams — especially offensively — in the conference, Johnson-Lynch could again start Brandt and Enna, so Schuler and Mauck can have more time to work themselves back into the starting lineup.