Craig sets the bar high for her senior season

Iowa State's volleyball program is on the rise and setter Amanda Craig is one of the big reasons why. After a standout high school career at West Des Moines Valley High School Craig's top priority has been to turn the Cyclone volleyball squad into a contender.

Amanda Craig had opportunities to go to other colleges; after all she was a first-team all-state performer in the state of Iowa as a senior.


The West Des Moines Valley native was a four-year starter and all-conference performer; she was a three-time first-team all-conference and all-district selection. On Craig's club team, the Iowa Power Volleyball Alliance (IPVA) she earned all-American honors and made the Junior Olympic 16 and under all-national team.


But when those bigger named volleyball colleges came calling, cardinal and gold was all Craig heard.


"People asked me why I came here," she said. "Why I came to a losing program and I really wanted to be a part of a program that was on the way up and rebuilding. I wanted to be someone who helped to make a difference."


Craig's ISU career hasn't been picture perfect, the squad hasn't had a winning season since Craig's been on the court and she's had to rehab back from four different surgeries.


But she thinks finally this is the year for her and her ISU teammates.


"This is my best preseason yet," Craig said. "I'm healthy all the way through which is awesome. I'm really excited to play. With our new coaches we're just playing at a whole new level."


Last season Craig took over the setter position, playing in 103-of-104 games. She tallied 1,130 assists, which was the fourth-highest single-season total in school history. Her 1,346 career assists rank seventh all-time at Iowa State.


First year head coach Christy Johnson said those statistics highlight Craig's versatility. Johnson said that most college setters have been setting since they were freshmen or sophomores in high school.


"Amanda is an exceptional athlete," Johnson said.  "When I first came in I was worried because I knew she hadn't set that much. I was a setter and I know how long it took to learn the position, but she's such a great athlete she picked it up so quickly. She's what other people have in reps and years of time, she's able to make up for because she's so athletic."


As her ISU volleyball career winds down, Craig said she couldn't have been happier with the decision she made.


"I couldn't have asked for better people, a better environment," she said. "The people here are amazing and that's what makes your college experience. It's not how many games you win, how many you lose. It's the coaching staff, the players and your friends."

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