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Washburn volleyball drops top-five duel against Jennies in four sets

By KYLE MANTHE

The Washburn Review

It was a top-five showdown in Lee Arena as No 2 Washburn University volleyball faced the third-ranked University of Central Missouri in a battle to remain atop the MIAA standings.

And with the end of the regular season in sight Washburn is looking for a leader to help the Ichabods get to the end on a strong note.

“At some point you know you think when you have this old of a group that someone on the floor has got to step up and be lead,” said Washburn coach Chris Herron.

Leadership will be important going forward as Washburn fell in four sets, 19-25, 25-17, 28-30, and 22-25. The loss moves WU to third place in the MIAA and snaps the team's undefeated home record.

“I think we just move onto the next game, like obviously it’s disappointing but we can’t let one game define us so we are just focusing on practicing and getting better from here on out,” Washburn senior middle hitter Allison Maxwell said.

 Maxwell 1Allison Maxwell

SadlerAllison Sadler

The match started back and forth, tied at eight points each before the attack errors piled up for the Ichabods putting them in a deficit. A strong offensive attack from Central Missouri, which logged a nearly .400 attack percentage as a team in the set, helped them claim the first set of the match. On the other end senior middle hitter Sydney Fitzgibbons knocked down six kills on her way to hitting .458 in the match.

“But (Kersti) Nix killed us, we couldn’t stop her. I mean hell we could have put a surfboard up there, we couldn’t block her,” Herron said. “I think that’s the key to the match was she just did so much and we did little with her.”  

Washburn jumped ahead 7-3 in the second set, forcing a timeout and would never look back. The Ichabods defense was suffocating as the Jennies only hit .176 in the set while also committing five service errors. The offense was evenly distributed but freshman outside hitter Jalyn Stevenson was tops with four kills including the set winner.

The third set started with Washburn trailing 5-1 before they battled back, tying the set at 13 and finally taking a 20-19 lead. A two-point lead late would not hold though, as Central Missouri tied the set at 24 before ultimately winning it 30-28. Senior setter Allison Sadler would record 20 assists in the set, but it was not enough.

“I think sometimes we just get a little complacent and we get comfortable and so I think that might have happened tonight and against good teams we can’t do that,” Maxwell said.

The fourth set was close throughout, starting with another split of the first 14 points in the set. The Ichabods would break the tie and take a three point lead until it gradually slipped away and became a three-point advantage for the Jennies who held on to win the set and match.

“We will practice hard tomorrow, that’s all I can say, tomorrow should have been the day we rest our bodies (but) no, no, and we should be resting, we should be resting our bodies but we can’t show like that,” said Herron.

Maxwell knocked down 15 kills to lead the team, while senior outside hitter Genna Berg and Fitzgibbons each had 14. Sadler had 62 assists on the night, good for a season high while senior libero Faith Rottinghaus made 31 digs in a strong defensive effort.

The loss moved Washburn to 19-3 on the year before going on the road to face Emporia State on Oct. 26.

MATCH RESULTS

Central Missouri def. Washburn: 25-19, 17-25, 30-28, 25-22.