Iowa State volleyball suffered a setback Wednesday in the midst of a three-game winning streak, falling to No. 8 Texas in three sets at home.
Now, on a short turnaround, the Cyclones will have the chance to get back on track against the very team they beat to start that winning streak.
The Cyclones will host Kansas State on Friday night at Hilton Coliseum, just two weeks after Iowa State won in four sets in Manhattan, Kansas. In that game, the Cyclones dominated on the attack to the tune of a .379 hitting percentage, and senior middle blocker Grace Lazard in particular was a standout, with 17 kills and seven blocks.
That game catapulted the Cyclones to one of their better stretches of this season, where they won three straight conference games to get back above .500 on the season. However, that recent success may have led to some complacency, coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said.
"We've really been having a lot of success," Johnson-Lynch said. "I felt this week we let up a little bit. We let up enough where I thought going into Texas, we needed to be just a little sharper, and more aggressive, and I didn't see that this week."
Iowa State can't afford to be complacent this time around. Despite struggling this season, particularly during Big 12 Conference play, Kansas State has been improved as of late, beating two ranked foes in No. 22 Kansas and No. 24 Baylor since falling to the Cyclones.
Iowa State is also coming off what is arguably its worst game of the season, where the Cyclones hit a season-low .129 percent as a team in a dominant all-around performance by Texas.
While Johnson-Lynch and players were concerned about the performance given on Wednesday, they viewed it as more of an outlier and an opportunity to refocus on their goals going forward.
"Perhaps we needed a little wake up call to say 'in this league, nothing is given,'" Johnson-Lynch said. "You can't afford to take a day or two off in practice, you have to work hard."
Unfortunately for the Cyclones, because of the aforementioned quick turnaround they won't get much of time to regroup before they have to face the Wildcats. Though the team has had plenty of rest lately thanks to its schedule, it's still usually not ideal for a team to play two conference games in three nights.
Except in this case, it might be. The performance against Texas was ugly in nearly all facets, and the team seemed ready to put the match behind them as quickly as possible.
"I'm excited just to have another chance to prove ourselves," said senior outside hitter Jess Schaben. "We can come back from it in two days and just change it all."
Also helping matters is the fact the Wildcats themselves just played on Wednesday as well. In that match, Kansas State had their two-game winning streak snapped against Oklahoma in four sets.
Now, Kansas State will have to deal with the same short turnaround as the Cyclones, except the Wildcats will have to travel on top of it. When asked if the quick turnaround was an advantage for Iowa State, Grace Lazard cited K-State's travel schedule as perhaps the biggest edge that the team has.
"Yeah, definitely," Lazard said. "Especially being at home too. I think that's the best."
First serve will take place at 7 p.m. Friday from Hilton Coliseum. The game will also be broadcasted live on ESPNU, making it the second straight nationally televised game for the Cyclones.