Volleyball pumped up for Iowa State

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Volleyball pumped up for Iowa State

Iowa outside hitter Taylor Louis sets a ball over the net during an NCAA volleyball game between Iowa and Indiana State on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Sycamores, 3-1. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa outside hitter Taylor Louis sets a ball over the net during an NCAA volleyball game between Iowa and Indiana State on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Sycamores, 3-1. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa outside hitter Taylor Louis sets a ball over the net during an NCAA volleyball game between Iowa and Indiana State on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Sycamores, 3-1. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa outside hitter Taylor Louis sets a ball over the net during an NCAA volleyball game between Iowa and Indiana State on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Sycamores, 3-1. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

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The Hawkeye volleyball team will play at home for the second-straight weekend to face its biggest in-state rival, Iowa State.

Iowa also plays Northern Illinois twice; once to open up the weekend at 1 p.m. today and at 7 p.m. Saturday.

However, the biggest game for the Hawkeyes comes at 7 p.m. today, when they host the No. 22 Cyclones.

“You can’t go wrong when you’re taking on the Cyclones at home at Carver,” head coach Bond Shymansky said. “We’re working to make sure that we defend home court like we did two years ago here, and we’ve been trading the home-court advantage with them so far, so we need to hold court.”

Iowa State has a 5-0 record, last defeating Pittsburgh in a five-set match to finish the Dayton Invitational.

The Hawkeye and Cyclone teams have very similar offensive numbers, with the kills per set and attack percentages split by just a fraction.

Iowa State holds its opponents to an average .092 hitting percentage, good for second in the nation.

Taylor Louis will be key for the Hawkeye offense. In the five-set match against Coastal Carolina last weekend, she recorded a career high 19 kills. She leads the team in both kills and attack percentage.

Iowa has worked all week to prepare for the Cyclones.

“We’re ready for Iowa State, that’s our No. 1 priority now,” senior libero Annika Olsen said. “Home-court advantage is huge, and I think that just playing them at home is really going to add that extra help that we’re going to need to beat them. They’re a really talented team, and we’ve been putting in the work, so we’re excited to beat them.”

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Playing in Carver-Hawkeye for the second weekend in a row is a huge element in the confidence that the Iowa team has.

“Having that home court advantage, just having the fans there cheering for you, being familiar with the court you’re on all of it makes a huge difference when you’re competing against a really tough team,” senior middle blocker Kelsey O’Neill said.

It’s a different feeling when Iowa State comes to town.

The in-state rivalry brings a new level of competition to the game, and with that comes a new level of intensity.

“Our team is super excited about taking on Iowa State,” Shymansky said. “We got to play them a lot in the off-season, a lot of scrimmage opportunities, and I know there was a good grind there. I like watching when our team goes to that place; that it’s just high intensity and really getting after it. I think we respect and enjoy the camaraderie and competition between us and Iowa State, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

For O’Neill, this is her first year getting to experience the rivalry, and she’s excited.

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