In Iowa State’s loss to Baylor on Saturday evening, the Cyclones were able to start out strong in their sets but unable to finish in the same fashion.
The Cyclones fell to the Bears three sets to zero, with Baylor winning set one 25-22 and sets two and three 25-20.
Iowa State was able to keep up with Baylor throughout the early and middle parts of set one and two, but Baylor was able to pull away toward the end and finish both with set wins.
Junior outside hitter Brooke Andersen said the Bears were able to pull away because they stayed aggressive and never pulled back.
“They were very clean in their play and I think we were a little bit inconsistent with what we were doing and thought they stayed very consistent,” Andersen said. “We may be eased up a little bit on our serve-pass game, … I thought we started off really, really aggressive and we were going at them and they just never really backed down.”
The Cyclones started out the night hitting well against Baylor’s tall middle blockers, at one point hitting a .421 hitting percentage in set one, but that quickly turned around as the evening wore on and Iowa State ended the night with a hitting percentage of .078, a season low.
Baylor’s middle blockers were a large part in that low hitting percentage, with a total of 13 blocks on the night.
Andersen said the big block made it hard for her to adjust her attack and that she needed to hit higher and needed to find a way to use the block to their advantage.
“I think we just need to be more strategic in who we set so we can get more splits,” said junior setter Jenna Brandt. “That way the big block [isn’t] there cause their block was huge tonight.”
Iowa State Head Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said starting out strong and tapering off toward the end has been a trend for the Cyclones so far this season, something that also happened two weeks ago against Texas.
“That’s kind of been our story lately… we were right in it with Baylor towards middle end and we just didn’t execute very well at the end of those sets,” Johnson-Lynch said. “You saw Baylor kind of separate and run a bunch of points and game over.”
Johnson-Lynch said it is disappointing because the team plays well for a stretch and doesn’t finish to be good at the end of games.
During the third set, Iowa State didn’t come out as strong as it had in the first two sets against Baylor, but was able to fight back to get into contention.
However, like in set two, once the Cyclones reached point 20, the Bears pulled away and shut down the Cyclones to end the game.
Johnson-Lynch said they have been working in practice to come out strong in games, but now they will have to work in practice to finish games.
“Ironically we’ve worked pretty hard in the last two weeks starting strong, we’ve put some emphasis on coming out of matches faster because we’ve been a little slow,” Johnson-Lynch said. “So we did that this week, I thought we were pretty much ready to go this weekend, but we didn’t end very well. So we gotta get back to work and figure out how we can make strong, aggressive, smart decisions and play well at the end of games.”
Iowa State will be back to play Oklahoma next Saturday and Sunday at Hilton Coliseum. Both matches will be at 2 p.m.