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#17 Candelaria Herrera and #11 Piper Mauck blocking a hit by Penn State. Iowa State Volleyball faced Penn State on Friday Sept. 6. Penn State won 3-0.

Iowa State was able to overcome a poor hitting performance in the first set to sweep TCU on Wednesday.

The Cyclones struggled with passing early in the match, but as the team built more energy, Iowa State’s hitters — including Candelaria Herrera — were able to take the match for the Cyclones 25-23, 25-23, 25-12.

“Tonight we were hoping to find our offense again, kind of to get in a groove offensively,” Johnson-Lynch said.

The offense wasn’t flowing early for the Cyclones as the team narrowly won the first set with a hitting percentage of .171.

Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said the Cyclones started off the match shaky and the team’s passing statistics in the opening set were "horrible."

“Our passing was a little flat in the beginning, and then we motivated each other and once we got the pass, we just started to connect with our setter,” said Brooke Andersen.

It was the latter half of the match that Johnson-Lynch said the team started to settle in.

Herrera said the team started to bring more energy in the match, which allowed all aspects in the Cyclones’ game to come together.

The Cyclones had nine blocks during the match, which equates to an average of three blocks per set.

Avery Rhodes, one of Iowa State’s middle blockers, had seven total blocks during the game, which helped the Cyclones hold the Horned Frogs to a hitting percentage of .093.

In the Big 12, Rhodes ranks second in blocks per set with an average of 1.21.


Middle blockers Josie Herbst and Avery Rhodes and libero/defensive specialist Izzy Enna celebrate after scoring on South Dakota during the home game Sept. 3.

Throughout the season, Iowa State’s block has been a focus for Johnson-Lynch. When the Cyclones are able to have a strong performance blocking, the team is able to have momentum plays that can crush opponant rallies and even jump start one for the Cyclones.

Andersen said the team’s blocking added energy and contributed to improving the teams passing and being able to allow the hitters to establish a groove.

Once the passing improved, Iowa State’s hitters were able to thrive, including Herrera — who led the team in kills and hitting percentage with 10 kills a hitting percentage of .667.

Despite the strong performance, Herrera said she didn’t even know she was hitting so well in the moment.

Johnson-Lynch said Herrera is evolving into a go-to player for the Cyclones and the team has been trying to get the ball to her as much as possible.

Herrera has distinguished herself as a great athlete in the eyes of Johnson-Lynch.

“She’s really good on the slide and she’s so fast, she’s so explosive, so it’s hard for the blockers to even figure out where she’s going,” Johnson-Lynch said.

This season, Herrera has upped her game and currently ranks second in the conference in hitting percentage behind Baylor’s Yossiana Pressley.

“Just coming from the last game against Texas Tech, it’s a good win for us because it’s just getting comfortable again,” Herrera said.

Against Texas Tech, the Cyclones fell 3-1 and had poor performances in all aspects of the game from passing to hitting.

With the win against TCU, the Cyclones were able to overcome a poor performance and create momentum heading into the team's road game against Oklahoma on Saturday.

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