With a record of 8-10 and coming off of a loss to No. 4 Texas in straight sets, Iowa State is set to face Kansas State on Wednesday and TCU on Saturday.
On Monday, coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, outside hitter Josie Herbst and setter Piper Mauck met with the media to discuss the upcoming games and the Texas match.
What made the offense click against Texas?
Against Texas, Iowa State had a .302 hitting percentage, which was the first time the team had a hitting percentage above .300 since August.
Johnson-Lynch said a strong back row attack, led by Jess Schaben, helped open up the attack and said Mauck, who had 37 kills, had one of the best games of her career.
Johnson-Lynch said what stood out to her about Mauck was her decision making and ability to locate the ball.
“I think this match was the best match she’s had this season…. She’s getting a lot better at running down balls,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We call them scramble plays when it’s not an easy pass, but it’s something you need to run down.”
Against Texas, Mauck said the team played much more relaxed then they usually had. She said part of the reason was the team entered the match as underdogs.
Overall, Mauck also said the team did a better job handling the ball against Texas.
Herbst said because the team was able to get digs and sets down, the hitters were able to aim high off of the block to generate scoring chances.
Facing Kansas State
In Kansas State, Iowa State will be facing a team that is winless in Big 12 play this year, but was able to push Texas to five sets.
For the upcoming match on Wednesday, Johnson-Lynch, Herbst and Mauck all emphasized the need to bring energy.
With energy, the team’s offense is able to maintain consistency.
Johnson-Lynch said the Iowa State offense had stalled out prior to the Texas match.
“[Bringing energy is] easy against Texas because they’re a top 10 team," Johnson-Lynch said. "You are almost going to be too hyped up to play them. Now can we go do that against everyone in the conference?”
Herbst said Kansas State’s gym gets packed and battling the crowd can be a challenge, but feels the team feels the need to step up and “prove the crowd wrong."
Bringing the energy
“We’re up and down a lot, we win a lot of first sets and then all of our energy goes away, so at Texas we just kept going, everyone kept talking to each other and making everything exciting,” Herbst said.
Mauck said part of bringing energy is being scrappy on the court by playing aggresive and not being afraid to make errors.
In practice, Mauck said the team has instituted a rule that if you don’t go for a ball, you have to get off of the court.
“We can say we are going to play hard and go after every ball, but can we actually do it,” Mauck said.