Top-ranked Washburn volleyball soars to victory in sweep over Jets

By Kyle Manthe

The Washburn Review 

Coming into its second week at the top of the NCAA Division II rankings Washburn University volleyball once again had a target on its back as the Ichabods faced Newman University Friday night at Lee Arena.

Ever since the team took control of the top spot Washburn coach Chris Herron has made sure the focus is always on the next match. 

“What’s the difference between one and two or four or six, you’re still going to have that target on your back,” said Herron on the team's ability to keep a high energy level. 

The Ichabods defeated the Jets in three sets, 25-12, 25,19, 25-12, moving to 13-1 on the season and a perfect 5-0 in MIAA play. While the team ran into some turbulence in the second set, they were able to keep the Jets grounded for the night.

IMG 6819Washburn senior Allison Maxwell celebrates a kill in Friday's 3-0 MIAA sweep of Newman at Lee Arena. [Photo by Kyle Manthe/The Washburn Review]

The first set began back and forth before Washburn was able to break away in the middle of the set and ultimately bring it to a close, getting contributions from all around the front line with five players recording at least two kills in the first set. 

“We have a lot of offensive weapons, so our setter has some easy choices sometimes,” said Herron. 

The second set was where Newman presented the biggest challenge for the Ichabods. Errors on the part of Washburn and opportunistic play from the Jets allowed the set to remain close before the Ichabods took three of the last four points. 

“I thought that they (Newman) started to dig more balls in the second set, even though we won the rallies just the fact that sometimes you hit a ball and it's not going down sometimes kids get into their own heads,” said Herron.

The focus was readjusted and paid off as the Ichabods came out strong in the second set, winning the first seven points on its way to a 22-7 advantage before closing out the set and match. 

IMG 6921Washburn celebrates a point during Friday's 3-0 MIAA win over Newman at Lee Arena. [Photo by Kyle Manthe/The Washburn Review]

“I think we had known that we were making a lot of mistakes in the first and second sets so we were like, 'Let's try to minimize those and really focus,' ” said senior middle hitter Allison Maxwell.

Freshman outside hitter Jalyn Stevenson led Washburn with nine kills while recording a .474 hitting percentage. Maxwell and senior Sydney Fitzgibbons each added eight kills in a balanced offensive effort that featured five attackers with at least seven kills.

Senior setter Allison Sadler finished the night with 34 assists while senior libero Faith Rottinghaus paced the team with 14 digs, showcasing the strong defensive play in the front row. 

Former Washburn Rural standout Abby Borough finished the match with three kills and two digs and former Highland Park Scot Imani Jones recorded two kills. 


Washburn def. Newman, 25-12, 25-18, 25-12. 

Alejos runs for 400 yards, 8 TDs in High's 70-42 romp past Scots

Rick Peterson


Topeka High's game plan entering Friday night's Centennial League football game against Highland Park was to run the football.

Trojan senior star Tylas Alejos took that to the extreme, carrying the ball 27 times for 400 yards and scoring eight touchdowns as Topeka High pulled away in the second half for a 70-42 win over the Scots at Hummer Sports Park.

"Coach (Carlos Kelly) told us we were going to try to run the ball,'' Alejos said. "We liked what we had up front, so we just had to execute.''

TylanAlejosHP1Topeka High senior standout Tylan Alejos is hoisted in the air by senior lineman Jacob Jackson after scoring one of his eight touchdowns in Friday's 70-42 win over Highland Park. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Alejos set the tone for the night when he carried the ball all three times on High's 64-yard game-opening scoring drive, including a 32-yard touchdown run with 10:51 left in the first quarter.

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound Alejos also scored on runs of 21 yards and 4 yards in the first quarter and added a 6-yard TD in the second quarter, 71, 51 and 31-yard scores in the third quarter and a 21-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Alejos also ran for a 2-point conversion to finish with 50 points on the night.

Alejos knew he was having a big night, but tried to concentrate on the score and not the stats.

"I was really looking at the scoreboard and just making sure we got the win,'' Alejos said. 

Trojan junior quarterback Peyton Wheat added 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 attempts while senior Talayah Thiomas kicked eight extra points as Topeka High improved to 2-3 overall and in the league..

Highland Park fell to 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the league with its 61st straight loss, but the Scots put up a spirited fight in the first half, trailing by just a 36-28 margin at the break.

The Scots took the second-half kickoff and drove to the Topeka High 2-yard-line, but junior quarterback Kei'Juan Johnson was thrown for a 13-yard loss on fourth down to stop the threat and Alejos scored on three long gallops to give the Trojans an insurmountable 57-34 lead entering the fourth quarter.

TreRichardsonTHHighland Park junior Tre Richardson scored five touchdowns, including a pair of 70-yard kickoff returns, in the Scots' 70-42 loss to Topeka High. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Highland Park junior star Tre Richardson had a monster night for the Scots in a losing cause, scoring five touchdowns.

Richardson scored the Scots' first touchdown on a 36-yard pass from senior quarterback Kellan Spruce and he also hauled in a 19-yard TD pass from Spruce, ran for an 80-yard touchdown and scored on a pair of 70-yard kickoff returns.

"Tre Richardson is electrifying,'' Kelly said. "He's that kid that wins every tag game. You put him in just (a little bit of room) and that's just too much room.''

Highland Park also got a 44-yard TD pass from Spruce to junior Tyrell Reed.

Spruce completed 14 of 17 pass attempts for 160 yards and the three TDs, but was picked off twice.

Richardson rushed for 105 yards on five attempts and caught five passes for 78 yards while Reed had seven catches for 67 yards.

"I tip my hat to Highland Park,'' Kelly said. "Those kids really fought hard.''

Read more ...