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WU volleyball tops No. 1-ranked Jennies to advance to regional final

Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer

By RICK PETERSON
TopSports.news

WARRENSBURG, Mo. – The No. 6-nationally ranked Washburn volleyball team knocked off No. 1 Central Missouri in four sets on the Jennies' home court Friday night to advance to the NCAA Central Region title match against No. 15 Concordia-St. Paul Saturday night.

Friday's 14-25, 25-11, 27-25, 25-18 win over Central Missouri marked the second time this season that Washburn has defeated the top-ranked team in the nation, with the Ichabods beating then-ranked No. 1 Nebraska-Kearney back on Sept. 18.

WUvolleyballjubeCMWashburn's volleyball team celebrates a point in Friday's 3-1 win over No. 1-ranked Central Missouri at Warrensburg, Mo. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

Central Missouri (29-4) dominated the opening set, but the rest of the night belonged to Washburn, which improved to 28-5 on the season.

Taylor Antonowich got the second set going with a service ace and Washburn put together a 5-1 scoring run with kills from four different Ichabods to take a 7-2 advantage. The Ichabod offense continued to roll and Washburn won seven of the last eight points of the set to even up the match at one set apiece.

UCM held an early 5-2 lead in the third frame when Washburn started to chip away at the deficit and leveled the score at 6-6. The Jennies responded with several scoring runs and eventually pushed their lead out to 22-16.

The momentum changed when Allison Maxwell hammered down a kill that started a run of eight unanswered points for Washburn to make it 24-22 in favor of the Ichabods. Central Missouri knotted up the score at 24 and then a successful UCM challenge tied the score at 25-all, but back-to-back attacking errors by the Jennies gave Washburn a 2-1 advantage in the match.

The teams exchanged points to start the fourth until Jalyn Stevenson recorded a kill to ignite a 10-2 scoring run to put Washburn in front, 16-9.

The all-around team effort continued both offensively and defensively as the Ichabods remained in control of the set. Kelsey Gordon put the match away with a kill.
 
Washburn hit .142 in the match and limited Central Missouri to an .096 hitting percentage. The Ichabods led in kills, 53-43, and held a slight edge in digs, 82-80.
 
Three Ichabods finished in double-figure kills, led by Berg's 19. She also had nine digs and five blocks. Stevenson and Gordon both contributed 10 kills apiece.

Allison Sadler notched her 11th double-double of the year with 47 assists and 19 digs. Libero Faith Rottinghaus led all players with 27 digs while Antonowich landed three of Washburn's five service aces and also scooped up 10 digs.

Audrey Fisher led the Jennies with 12 kills and was a part of seven blocks.

Concordia-St. Paul knocked off Nebraska-Kearney in the first semifinal, 3-2, to earn a spot in Saturday's 7 p.m. championship match against the Ichabods.

MATCH RESULT

Washburn def. Central Missouri, 14-25, 25-11, 27-25, 25-18.

Brooks leads way with 32 points as West boys top Rural, 69-57

Rick Peterson

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Obviously there's still a lot of work to be done if Topeka West's boys basketball team wants to make another run at a Class 5A state title.

But veteran coach Rick Bloomquist had very few complaints about the way his Chargers, second in 5A last season, started the year Friday night, with West topping Washburn Rural 69-57 in a battle between the Centennial League stalwarts at West.

"It was a great start,'' Bloomquist said. "Those Washburn Rural kids are competitive, they're winners and they're well-coached, so we knew it was going to be a test for us without a doubt. I was a little concerned about a hangover from last year, but I don't think we had too much of a hangover. I thought we played pretty well. 

"We have a lot of things to work on, especially free throws and silly fouls but you don't want to be perfect now, you want to be perfect later.''

ElijahBrooks2WRTopeka West senior Elijah Brooks slams down a dunk on the way to a 32-point performance in West's 69-57 season-opening win over Washburn Rural. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Senior star Elijah Brooks, a returning All-Shawnee County first-teamer, was the ringleader for the Chargers, scoring 12 points with four dunks in the first 10 minutes on the way to a monster 32-point night as West returned to the court for the first time since falling to Maize in the 5A state championship game in March.

Brooks said it was great to get back out on the court.

"I don't know if it was excitement or nerves, but I think we were all ready for this game,'' Brooks said.

Junior Sincere Austin joined Brooks in double figures with 13 points while senior Zander Putthoff had nine points on three 3-pointers as Topeka West only trailed once in the game, at 2-0.

Brooks' early dunkfest helped Topeka West build an early 24-8 lead and the Chargers went on to take a 31-18 lead at the half.

Washburn Rural battled back in the second half to get within seven points late in the third quarter and the Junior Blues got as close as seven again late in the game, but were unable to get any closer as West shot 58.5 percent from the field and hit enough free throws (14 of 29) to hold Rural at bay.

QuinceyKiddTWWashburn Rural senior Quincey Kidd, reacting to a play Friday night, led the Junior Blues with 18 points in a 69-57 loss at Topeka West. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Rural, which shot 50 percent from the field and connected on 17 of 19 free throw attempts, got 18 points from senior Quincey Kidd, 13 from junior Jack Bachelor and 12 points from sophomore Griffin Durst. 

"I thought we showed some fight in the second quarter and then we cut it to seven in the third and seven in the fourth so we had two opportunities where we kind of got it close, but Elijah was just a little bit too much,'' Washburn Rural coach Kevin Muff said.

Rural used several players Friday that were seeing their first varsity action.

"We're brand new, but they'll figure it out,'' Muff said. "It may take just a little bit of time.'' 

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