Georgia’s Mark Richt, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, LSU’s Les Miles, Wisconsin’s Gary Anderson and Iowa State volleyball coach Christy Johnson-Lynch share something in common.
They have no fears as it relates to scheduling.
The Tigers – Clemson’s version (ranked 16th) – meet the Bulldogs (#12) and the Tigers – LSU’s version (13th) – play the Badgers (#14) Saturday in college football season openers.
Johnson-Lynch will guide her volleyball squad into matches against third-ranked Stanford and 13th-rated Florida State to open the regular season this weekend as part of the AVCA Showcase.
“The theme is that ‘we embrace this week,’” Johnson-Lynch said. “These are the types of teams we’ll need to beat to get to the Final Four and win a Big 12 championship.”
Johnson-Lynch has voluntarily chosen to play 15 nationally ranked teams – in the non-conference part of the year – in her tenure. She likes the competition.
The Cyclones have won seven matches against ranked competition outside of its conference or NCAA Tournament schedule. Those victories – LSU (2007), Kentucky (2010), UNI (2010), Florida (2011), Illinois (2012), UNI (2012) and Nebraska (2012) – enhanced the Cyclones’ tourney resume and boosted confidence.
“It’s great for our fans (too),” Johnson-Lynch said. “This is what we want to be… the type of program that is ready to embrace great competition right off the bat.”
Certainly, there is a touch of apprehension when playing the best of the best.
“It causes me a bit of anxiety,” Johnson-Lynch said. “You would prefer to ease into it, but at the same time, it’s a great opportunity for our team.”