By RICK PETERSON
After absorbing a lopsided three-set Senior Night loss to Northwest Missouri last Saturday, all Washburn University volleyball coach Chris Herron wanted to see Tuesday night was for his Ichabods to repcapture the form that had resulted in 24 regular-season victories and a No. 5 national ranking.
Herron got exactly what he was looking for, with the Ichabods rolling to a 25-19, 25-17, 25-20 sweep in an MIAA Tournament quarterfinal win over Pittsburg State at Lee Arena.
"That butt-slapping we took on Saturday night was not fun to watch,'' Herron said. "But the energy was great in serve and pass today so I knew going in we were going to be OK.''
With the victory, Washburn improved to 25-4 on the year and advanced to a rematch with Northwest in Friday's 8:30 p.m. MIAA Tournament semifinal at Warrensburg, Mo. Central Missouri will face Nebraska-Kearney in the first semifinal at 6 p.m.
"We're looking forward to this opportunity to play them again,'' Herron said of the semifinal matchup. "It's an opportunity and we talk about the glass isn't half empty it's half full, so that's an opportunity for us.''
Senior Genna Berg led the Ichabods with 16 kills against Pittsburg State while senior Allison Maxwell added 13 kills and senior Kelsey Gordon 11 as Washburn hit at a .325 clip, compared to .238 hitting by Pittsburg State, which ended the season 15-14.
"Berg was crazy good and Alli Maxwell was off the charts and Kelsey Gordon, yikes!'' Herron said. "Those three kids by themselves were ridiculous. They were bouncing balls and it was a lot of fun.''
Senior Allison Sadler had 43 assists on the night for Washburn while senior Faith Rottinghaus led the way with 17 digs.
The five Ichabod standouts all earned All-MIAA first-team honors earlier in the day.
Gordon said Tuesday was a great bounce-back from Saturday's loss.
"I think we did really well with finding ourselves and coming back to playing Washburn volleyball because I think we can all agree that (Saturday) wasn't Washburn volleyball,'' Gordon said. "I think tonight was just about finding who we are again as a team.
"We had a meeting and we talked about what makes Washburn volleyball special and we identified those (things) and today the biggest goal was just playing to those.''
Former Silver Lake standout Marissa Bates led Pittsburg State with 11 digs.
Washburn def. Pittsburg State, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20.