Iowa State began its 2021 volleyball season with a pair of victories in Ames last weekend, but a new week brings new challenges for the Cyclones. This weekend, the team will compete in a trio of matches at the Penn State Classic.
The Cyclones are the only team that enters the Classic without a loss, but the event does hold some difficult competition. Iowa State will play against LSU, 17th-ranked Penn State and Oregon State.
With the exception of Penn State, the three teams traveling to Pennsylvania each finished the 2020 season with sub .500 records. As the three teams are looking to improve upon last season to earn a bid for the NCAA Tournament, this event will allow the teams to play against opponents from major conferences and build up confidence.
The main thing that Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch is watching out for ahead of the weekend is how the team responds to the height and physicality of the teams they will be facing.
“We are going to play some pretty physical teams, big blockers, big hitters, we are going to see six-four, six-five on some teams,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I think the teams across the net will be even more physical than we have seen and [we have to] be ready for that.”
Although this weekend will be difficult for the Cyclones, it is only the beginning of a major string of road matches. Iowa State will not compete in Ames again until a Sept. 24 matchup with TCU.
Johnson-Lynch said that this stretch will be a difficult one, but in the long run, she can see the benefits of being tested before conference play.
Iowa State will kick off the Penn State Classic on Friday at 10 a.m. At 7 p.m. Friday, the Cyclones will match up against Penn State for the team’s second match of the day.
To wrap up the event, Iowa State will go up against Oregon State at 4 p.m. Saturday.