Despite Iowa having all the momentum heading into the final set of the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament, the Cyclones defeated the Hawkeyes 3-2 on Saturday in the final match.
“We started off well, but we kinda got too relaxed in the middle of the match but took control [at the end],” said sophomore middle blocker Avery Rhodes.
By beating Iowa, the Cyclones went 3-0 in the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament to win overall, beating the Lipscomb Bisons 3-0 on Thursday and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 3-2 on Friday.
The Cyclones are on a seven-game winning streak and a season record of 9-3, but things didn’t always go the Cyclones' way at the tournament.
Iowa State wins despite Iowa hitting well
While Iowa State’s offense lifted them to victory, the Hawkeyes' offense was more consistent throughout the match.
In all five sets, the Hawkeyes hit between .303 and .389 against the Cyclones. In the third and fourth sets, the sets the Hawkeyes won, the Hawkeyes hit .323 and .375, which is much better than the Cyclones' .079 and .132 in the same two sets.
“I thought they were serving very tough,” said Iowa State head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. “Iowa’s a pretty tough serving team and they rattled us.”
After Iowa State's win against Western Carolina, Saturday's win is the second time this season where Iowa State has had a worse hitting percentage than its opponents.
Cyclones win close matches
Coming into the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament, Iowa State was 0-2 in matches that went five sets, with its losses coming against the Central Florida Knights and the Louisiana State Tigers.
Iowa State's fifth set victories came against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Friday and Iowa on Saturday.
In the fourth set of both matches, the Cyclones dropped the set, 30-28 against the Chanticleers and 25-18 against the Hawkeyes.
Despite Coastal Carolina and Iowa having the momentum in those matches heading into the fifth set, Iowa State won the fifth set in both matches.
Iowa State beat Coastal Carolina 15-12 in the fifth set of the match and beat Iowa 15-10 in the fifth set of the match.
“As a coaching staff we have to prepare more for a fifth set more than the players do,” said Johnson-Lynch. “The fifth set is different [than the other sets], it’s shorter, you can use more substitutions and it’s really important what rotation is starting the set. For the players, it’s more about decision making in that short amount of time.”
Eleanor Holthaus shines bright
In each match of the Cyclones’ matches in the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament, there was one name that was atop the leaderboard for the Cyclones in kills: Eleanor Holthaus.
The sophomore right-side player from Richmond, Minnesota, led the Cyclones attack in the Cy-Hawk Series Tournament with 48 kills in three matches, including a career-high 21 kills against the Chanticleers.
“For me it’s all about staying aggressive, mixing up my shots and if I make mistakes I just have to keep moving forward,” Holthaus said.
Holthaus leads Iowa State in kills with 152 kills and 184 points in 12 matches played.
“She is really starting to emerge, she’s playing really well and there are only two players who are out there all the time for us right now, Piper [Mauck] and her,” Johnson-Lynch said.
Iowa State will head to Austin, Texas, for its Big 12 opener against the third-ranked Texas Longhorns at 7 p.m. Wednesday.