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Jaiden Centeno serves the ball at the Penn State game Sept. 8. Penn State won 3-0.

Following the successful non-conference portion of the season, Iowa State will look to use its high-powered offense to continue its winning ways, but the Cyclones will need to improve on defense.

Iowa State is on a seven-game winning streak, the Cyclones' longest regular-season winning season since 2017, where they also had a seven-game winning streak.

The offense is leading the Cyclones to victory

In 12 games played, Iowa State has been one of the better offenses in the country as it has had a hitting percentage of .263 which is 46th out of the 353 NCAA volleyball teams and fourth out of the nine teams in the Big 12.

If the season ended today, the Cyclones current hitting percentage of .263 would be their best hitting percentage in the last five seasons.

Junior middle blocker Candelaria Herrera leads the Cyclones in hitting percentage at .330.

Iowa State has 643 kills this season which is 41st nationally and third in the Big 12.

The Cyclones have out-hit their opponents this season by .048 percent and have hit 59 more kills than their opponents.

“For us, it’s all about being aggressive and controlling the things that we can control like our energy and our attack,” said Eleanor Holthaus, sophomore right-side player.

Still sorting things out defensively

Contrary to its offense, Iowa State’s defense has not been as good as they have 662 digs while their opponents have hit 661 digs against them.

“The number one thing I’m looking for out of our players right now is if we can dig the ball,” said head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch.

Iowa State has seen a few different starters at the libero position.

At first, it was junior Izzy Enna, then it was freshman Jaiden Centeno and as of late freshman, Michal Schuler has seen most of the time at libero.

“We’ve made a lot of tweaks to our lineup and how we’re using people, but I think we’ve settled our lineup for the most part,” Johnson-Lynch said. “Over the next month our block and [defense] have to get a lot better, our block and [defense] are not at the level that it needs to be at.”

Cyclones looking to carry their momentum forward in conference play

The Cyclones are 9-3 this season with a winning percentage of .750, which ties them with Texas for second out of the nine Big 12 teams, although not all the teams have played the same amount of games thus far.

Coming into the season, Johnson-Lynch wasn’t exactly sure what its record was going to be because of the team's youth.

Out of the 16 players on its roster, 11 of them are underclassmen.

“Just because we have so many young players and we played so many good teams, I didn’t know if we would be .500 or undefeated,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I thought it could be anywhere between there, but I think in terms of our record and wins over quality opponents, I think we are in good shape.”

Iowa State has beaten a pair of one-loss teams, the South Dakota Coyotes and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers as well two Power Five schools with winning records, the Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The Cyclones will begin conference play on Wednesday in Austin, Texas, versus the sixth-ranked Texas Longhorns.

Iowa State is coming off of a close win against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday.

“That was a very important win for us and it made us more confident for Wednesday’s game,” Herrera said.

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