Iowa State earns Big 12 honors before taking on West Virginia


AMES — Iowa State volleyball heads to the road looking to extend its longest win streak of 2022 against West Virginia Wednesday night.

The Cyclones have won five straight matches, including their most recent two, a thrilling five-set upset of No. 1 ranked Texas and the season’s first sweep on the road against Texas Tech.

More of the same is key for the Cyclones, head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said, as preparation is made for the final nine games of the regular season.

“We’ve talked a lot about continuing to do the things that got us here,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We need to keep making little, small improvements and be who we are. Who we are is a great, scrappy defensive team who just finds a way to grind out wins.”

Iowa State’s last five wins have garnered the attention of the Big 12 conference. The Cyclones have earned Big 12 recognition four times in the last three weeks.

Iowa State senior Annie Hatch and junior libero Brooke Stonestreet earned Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week this week for their performance in Iowa State’s last two games.

Stonestreet, who has been tasked with the job of replacing 2021 Big 12 Libero of the Year Marija Popovic, acquired 41 digs in Iowa State’s two most recent matches. During the team’s upset win against Texas, Stonestreet led the Iowa State defense with 25 digs.

From her spot at libero, Stonestreet has also added one kill to the box score in the last two matches.

Growth and learning curves have shaped Stonestreet’s journey through the 2022 season. At the start of the 2022 season, no player was the definitive replacement for the libero position. Of the candidates competing for the spot, Stonestreet was one that had not played libero until she arrived at Iowa State.

“To be great you have to have a great libero,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She’s really becoming that for us. She’s really started to figure out the position and take off.”

On the offensive end, Hatch has added momentum during the team’s five-match winning streak. Hatch returned to the court but made no attempts Oct. 2 against Kansas State after dealing with an injury to start the season.

Hatch took 22 swings and found success with six kills in the next match against Kansas. Iowa State’s win over the Jayhawks marked a return in full for Hatch and the start of the current five-match winning streak for Iowa State.

Hatch finished third in kills for Iowa State last season and has made 2.58 kills per set during Iowa State’s five-match run.

Iowa State true freshman Maya Duckworth earned Big 12 Rookie of the Week two consecutive weeks prior.

In the most recent AVCA Coaches Poll, Iowa State received 28 votes, leaving the Cyclones just three places outside the nation’s top 25. Iowa State has two wins against top-25 teams so far this season.

“I honestly don’t have an opinion on it,” Johnson-Lynch said of her team’s positioning outside the national rankings. “It’s something we have zero control over except trying to play our best and win games. If we should be in there at some point, we’ll get in there. Got to keep playing well.”

Iowa State’s 6-2 record in Big 12 games has the Cyclones tied for second with Baylor in the Big 12 conference standings. Baylor, with a 17-4 overall record, is ranked No. 13 in college volleyball’s latest coaches’ poll.

Wednesday, Iowa State will face West Virginia for the second time this season. The Mountaineers have still been unable to pick up a Big 12 conference win, but in the Oct. 12 game between the two teams, Iowa State lost the first two sets.

The Cyclones needed to complete a reverse sweep in that matchup that included 17 service errors made by Iowa State and 15 made by West Virginia.

The match is set for 4 p.m. and streamed on ESPNU.


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