Rugged schedule benefits Cyclone volleyball

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“Iowa State is the overall #4 seed,” ESPN’s Beth Mowins announced on the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show Sunday night.

Let that sink in.

Christy Johnson-Lynch has authored a scintillating story with her Cyclone volleyball program. But, it’s hard to put into words how dramatic the climb has been from Big 12 cellar dweller to a top four seed in the NCAA Championship.

“That #4 seed is a reflection of the very tough schedule we played and the wins we had over really good teams,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We keep a very close eye on the RPI and that’s what the (selection) committee looks at. We’ve been educated that the RPI counts a lot.”

The Cyclones’ 22-5 record included two wins over nationally ranked Oklahoma, a victory at #9 Florida and road trips to both UNI (#6 overall tourney seed) and Nebraska (#2).

Johnson-Lynch is embracing the opportunity to host first- and second-round matches at Hilton Coliseum because it’s a huge advantage to play in front of the excitable ISU fans.

The field, she said, is more wide open than any season since she became a head coach.

“There are no dominant teams,” Johnson-Lynch said. “I feel like we have just as good of a shot as anyone to make a huge run (in the tournament).”

Early this season, Johnson-Lynch questioned herself about an especially rugged pre-league schedule. This week, she is celebrating a high NCAA seed and getting the chance to open tournament play in Ames.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

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