By RICK PETERSON
After ending Friday's Washburn Invitational slate with a dramatic five-set comeback victory over Oklahoma Baptist, the No. 17-ranked Washburn volleyball team rode that momentum to a 3-0 sweep over No. 25 Harding on Saturday, completing a perfect 4-0 record over the three-day event at Lee Arena.
Washburn coach Chris Herron said that Friday's comeback win against OBU provided a big momentum boost for the Ichabods on Saturday.
"That was huge,'' Herron said. "Let's be honest, because if you lose that in three or you lose it in five, then you've got the negative vibe about it and it's tough to get up for that next one.
"A great weekend for us. Everybody got to play and contribute and I'm excited about some of the young kids, and now the conference starts.''
Washburn, 6-1 on the season, got stronger as the Harding match wore on, taking a 25-22 win in the opening set before finishing the match with 25-12 and 25-13 decisions.
All-Tournament pick Jalyn Stevenson agreed with Herron that Friday's comeback had a carry-over benefit for the Ichabods on Saturday.
"I think coming from being down two sets, it's a reverse sweep so that brings a lot of energy and attitude,'' Stevenson said. "We started off a little slow, but knowing that we beat a really good team and we were playing a really good team now and that we can beat them really helped. A great weekend.''
After an 8-8 tie in the first set of Saturday's match the Ichabods got some separation on two attack errors by the Bison and a kill from Rachel Schwensen, who was named the tournament most valuable player.
Harding made up the ground quickly and both sides stayed close, with eight ties.
The final tie came at 22 before Cair Paravel Latin product Taryn Pridgett knocked down two kills and teamed up with Austin Broadie for a block to close out the set.
Harding won the first two points of the second set which served as the biggest lead the Bison would have in the set.
A pair of kills from Stevenson put Washburn in front, 5-3. Harding came within one at 8-7 but the Ichabods landed five straight points, beginning with a kill from Broadie.
The Ichabod offense hit .372 with 17 kills and only one error and Washburn won seven of the last eight points to take the 13-point second-set win.
Washburn started where they left off in the third set, quickly going up 3-0. Stevenson got a kill and assisted with fellow All-Tournament selection Bella Limback on a block to start a 4-0 run to double up the Bison at 14-7.
Stevenson did a bit of everything, knocking in an ace to help WU go up by double-digits.
Kills from Limback and Rylee Unruh pushed Washburn into the 20s and Unruh was able to end the 25-13 win with an ace.
The Ichabods hit .324 in their second sweep of the season over a ranked opponent and only committed seven errors. Defensively, eight blocks helped hold Harding to just .101 hitting. Washburn also held a narrow advantages in digs, 52 to 50, and assists, 37 to 30.
Stevenson had a double-double, pairing her match-high 14 kills with 13 digs while also recording three assists on blocks.
Limback hit .636 while knocking down seven kills and also assisted on three blocks.
Corinna McMullen had a double-double with 21 assists and 10 digs while Broadie chipped in a team-best five blocks and four kills.
The Ichabods will open MIAA conference play Friday at Lee Arena against No. 10 Nebraska-Kearney (6 p.m.).
Washburn Invitational All-Tournament Team
Rachel Schwensen, Washburn (most valuable player); Bella Limback, Washburn; Jalyn Stevenson, Washburn; Macy Langford, Oklahoma Baptist; Avery Hellmuth, Oklahoma Baptist; Danielle Moje, Missouri Western; Nessa Johnson, Missouri Western; Bella Laporta, William Jewell; Skylar McKinnon, Harding; Rylee Robedeux Midwestern State.