Outside hitter Brooke Andersen and middle blocker Candelaria Herrera shut down the opposing offense in the Cyclones' sweep over TCU on Oct. 17.

Iowa State volleyball will look to increase their record to above .500 when they play their home opener against Texas Tech Friday and Saturday.

The Cyclones started the season last weekend against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas, and finished the weekend 1-1 against a young Wildcats team.

Head Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said there was some good and some things to work on that came out of the doubleheader against Kansas State but ultimately it was a solid start.

"We really didn't have any idea what to expect," Johnson-Lynch said. "They were just much different than we even thought they would be, they played a much faster style of offense than we've ever seen. So to come out of the weekend one and one on the road with a good team, I can live with that."

Now, Johnson-Lynch and the Cyclones are shifting their focus to this weekend and Texas Tech. 

Johnson-Lynch said Texas Tech is a good team who returns almost everybody, but they are focusing more on themselves than they are on the Lady Raiders.

"We'll have a lot better handle on them than we did going into K-State," Johnson-Lynch said. "We still focus most of our time on us, in part because we still don't know always who's going to show up, one player could take out a few others on a team, so we want to make sure most of our time is spent on our team."

Johnson-Lynch said the Cyclones are currently working on offense, digging and figuring out what the hitter is going to do. She said she thinks the team's blocking is solid but it is the defense that comes after it they need to work on and getting the rhythm down. 

Another thing Johnson-Lynch said the Cyclones will have to work on is getting used to the doubleheader, as Johnson-Lynch said Iowa State got off to a "sluggish start" Saturday against Kansas State.

Junior outside hitter Brooke Andersen echoed this statement and said the back-to-back matches are harder, so that is something they are still working on, among other things for this week against Texas Tech.

"Playing back to back now is kind of harder for us so we gotta recover quicker," Andersen said. "So [Monday] we had more of a passing, no jumping practice so we were able to just work on ball handling and stuff, and now we know that Texas Tech has a really active setter so we've been working on defending the setter dump."


Then-freshman Brooke Andersen catching her breath after an intense rally with Oregon State on Aug. 25, 2018.

Due to COVID-19, there will be no fans at home matches this season, so the Cyclones will have to work on keeping their energy up themselves, especially during times when Texas Tech is up or goes on a run.

Johnson-Lynch said they will have players and the bench taking charge and said she thinks they have the crew to do it with how tight they are and how much energy they have. 

"The band will be there, that'll help liven things up," Johnson-Lynch said. "Our families and friends will be there that'll help. We'll do the best we can and sometimes it's actually about calming your nerves, even though you won't have a crowd that doesn't mean you're not going to be nervous or you're not going to be hyped up so we'll have to make sure that some people keep those nerves in check and some people make sure their energy is up."

Johnson-Lynch said the Cyclones are just focusing on them and they are a work in progress and not anywhere close to the team she knows they can be and is excited about their potential.

Iowa State will play Texas Tech at 4 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. The matches will be available to watch on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

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