Takeaways: Cyclones have near perfect third set against West Virginia, Herbst continues elite hitting


Danielle Peterson/Iowa State Daily

Outside hitter Josie Herbst goes against North Texas block on Dec. 5, 2018 in the Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State won 3-1 and is advancing to the NIVC semifinals. 

Jack Shover

Iowa State, 11-4 (2-1 Big 12) won both of their games against Kansas and West Virginia this past week to improve their standings in the Big 12 Conference.

Both West Virginia and Kansas figure to be at the bottom of the conference’s standings at the end of the season, but the Cyclones had a nearly perfect set against West Virginia, Josie Herbst has continued to hit at an elite level and Piper Mauck and Michal Schuler returned to the lineup.

Iowa State has near perfect third set against Mountaineers

The Cyclones had six total blocks and an overall .375 hitting percentage, but it was the last set against West Virginia, which was the most impressive for the Cyclones this week.

During the set, the Cyclones had a team hitting percentage of .500 and registered three blocks to win the set 25-16 to end the match.

The Cyclones didn’t have a single attacking error during the set.

Annie Hatch, Eleanor Holthaus and Avery Rhodes were all involved in the attack as hitters, but it was senior Josie Herbst that took over for the Cyclones during the set.

Herbst had eight kills — the Cyclones had 16 in the set — to finish the match with 11 kills.

If the Cyclones want to compete with No. 2 Baylor next week, they will need to have their hitters continue their efficiency they have been having since the Big 12 has started and avoid having a significant amount of errors against the Baylor block.

So far this season, Baylor has been allowing their opponents to hit .143 — well below the Cyclones’ season average of .271.

Herbst hitting at an elite level

Herbst had a solid week for the Cyclones and in addition to having 11 kills and a .375 hitting percentage against West Virginia, she also had 15 kills and a .314 hitting percentage against Kansas on Wednesday.

Of Iowa State’s main trio of outside hitters, Herbst, Hatch and Holthaus, all three have over 400 attack attempts, but Herbst is the only one of them with a hitting percentage above .300 with a season average of .314.

Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said Herbst is playing above what her potential is this season and said she doesn’t think she has had an outside hitter hitting as efficiently as Herbst before.

Jess Schaben, last seasons go-to option on the attack for Iowa State and an All-American, hit .250 for the Cyclones, which shows how difficult it is for an outside hitter to hit above .300.

Mauck and Schuler return to the lineup

Before the Texas game on Sept. 25, Piper Mauck and Michal Schuler collided with one another during a practice, which resulted in both players getting concussions. Mauck is the teams starting setter and Schuler is the teams starting libero.

Both players missed the game against Texas and were cleared to play against Kansas on Wednesday, but were withheld from the contest by the coaching staff.

Against West Virginia, both players returned to the lineup and didn’t miss a beat.

Mauck had 41 assists, which is more than her season average of 10.6 assists a set and Schuler had 10 digs, which is more than her average of 2.57 digs a set.