Iowa State volleyball returned home to play its first match of conference play against Texas Christian University on Friday night. The team claimed a straight set victory (25-21, 25-18, 25-23) that was fueled by multiple rallies after falling behind in sets.
The team was able to take each set during the match despite falling behind in each of them. The most notable of these deficits were a 10-5 score in the second set and 22-20 in the third.
Candelaria Herrera appreciated the way that the team has come together for these rallies so far this season.
“For us the big thing is maintaining our mental toughness, and even though we were at some points behind, we could hang in there,” Herrera said.
Several of the players agreed that this year’s team has a mentality that is hard to come by, leading to these runs.
Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch also acknowledged the team’s mid-set runs this season, but is looking to cut down on these deficits as the season goes on.
“We have had a little too much experience of that this season,” Johnson-Lynch said. “It also shows that we have some players that will persevere, and keep going, keep fighting, they do not give up.”
Winning the first conference game was exactly what Iowa State wanted, but there were still some flaws that need to be addressed.
“At times it felt like we were really out of system, and having to run around and give our outsides a high outside set,” coach Johnson-Lynch said. “That’s volleyball, sometimes you are going to pass the ball over the net, and you kind of have to find a way to get a good swing.”
Alexis Engelbrecht had a strong performance for the Cyclones, receiving an increased role, and doing everything that she could with that extra playing time. Engelbrecht credited her six kill, six block performance to a strong connection with setter Jaden Newsome.
The team received a major boost from the home crowd, as this is only the second weekend that the Cyclones have been at home so far this season. Senior leader Eleanor Holthaus felt refreshed to finally play in Ames again.
“[Nonconference] was really long for us, we were on the road a lot, so I think just being back in Hilton, in front of our home crowd felt really good,” Holthaus said.
Iowa State will play its second of two matches against TCU on Saturday at 4 p.m.