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  • Record-setter Simoncic's focus on helping WU get back in win column

    Rick Peterson



    Washburn University sophomore quarterback Kellen Simoncic made it into the Ichabod record book in last Saturday' 42-35 MIAA loss to Emporia State, setting a single-game record with 35 pass completions while going 35 of 48 on the day for 334 yards and four touchdown passes.

    WUSimoncic2Washburn sophomore quarterback Kellen Simoncic set a single-game school record with 35 pass completions in the Ichabods' 42-35 MIAA loss to Emporia State last Saturday. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    But while the record is something the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder may appreciate at some point, right now his only focus is on getting the Ichabods back in the victory column, beginning with Saturday night's 7 o'clock road contest at Fort Hays State.

    "I'm just worried about wins and losses and that's what's most important,'' Simoncic said. "You worry about wins and losses and the team. The other stuff will come along with that. I just want to win games.''

    Washburn is a respectable 3-2 entering Saturday's game, with 7 and 8-point losses, and Simoncic said the Ichabod offense is getting closer to being the unit it needs to be.

    "Starting fast and getting that first first down is our biggest thing right now.,'' he said. "Usually when we get that first first down and get things going, then it usually leads to pretty good things and I think we've shown that in previous games.''

    In his first season as Washburn's full-time starter, Simoncic said he's becoming more and more comfortable in that role and being a leader for the Ichabods.

    Through five games the Smithville, Mo. native has completed 112 of 186 pass attempts for 1,438 yards and 15 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions.

  • No. 12 Ichabod volleyball returns to Lee Arena for pair of weekend MIAA matches

    Rick Peterson



    No. 12-ranked Washburn University volleyball returns home this weekend to host Missouri Western on Friday before wrapping up the week against No. 23-ranked Central Missouri on Saturday.

    Washburn sophomore Jalyn Stevenson (10) is coming off a big performance in Tuesday's five-set win at Nebraska-Kearney. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]Washburn sophomore Jalyn Stevenson (10) is coming off a big performance in Tuesday's five-set win at Nebraska-Kearney. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics] 

    Friday's match is set for 6 p.m. while Saturday's match will get under way at 2 p.m.

    Washburn is coming off a big five-set victory at No. 5 Nebraska-Kearney on Tuesday to improve to 14-3 overall and 6-3 in the MIAA.

    Missouri Western (5-12, 2-7 MIAA) and Central Misouri (11-6, 6-2 MIAA) faced each other on Tuesday, with the Jennies coming away with the sweep.

    The Griffons have not won a true road match this year and are 0-4.

    The conference standings are tightly contested between six teams as Central Oklahoma (8-2 MIAA) leads the way and Pittsburg State (6-4 MIAA) is sixth with four teams sandwiched in between.

    Washburn is currently fifth with a 6-3 mark.

    Saturday's match will be Washburn's fourth match against a Top-25 ranked team. The Ichabods are 2-1 so far against ranked opponents.

    UCM is 3-2 in road matches.

    The Ichabods have played only three matches in Lee Arena this fall and are 2-1.

  • No. 12 Ichabod volleyball knocks off No. 5 Lopers in five-set road win

    Rick Peterson



    The No. 12-ranked Washburn volleyball team won its second five-set marathon of the season against No. 5-ranked Nebraska-Kearney on Tuesday evening to hand the Lopers their second loss of the year. 

    WUvolleyballKearneyNo. 12-ranked Washburn volleyball outlasted No. 5 Nebraska-Kearney in five sets on the road Tuesday night, improving to 14-3 on the season. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]
    The Ichabods posted a 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 19-25 and 15-12 victory to improve their record to 14-3 (6-3 MIAA) and Washburn has now won four in a row over Nebraska-Kearney, marking the first time that has happened in program history.  

    Washburn jumped out to an early 5-1 advantage in the opening set and held a 9-7 lead before Nebraska-Kearney put together a 6-1 run to go up, 13-10.

    The Ichabods fought back and tied the set at 15 and 16, but another 6-1 run created some breathing room for the Lopers.

    Trailing 22-17, Halle Meister knocked down a kill to spark a 5-1 scoring stretch to pull WU within one. Nebraska-Kearney held on, though, winning the next 2 points to take the 25-22 win.
    The Lopers (17-2, 7-2 MIAA) were up 4-3 in the second set when the Ichabods went on a 5-1 run to go in front, 8-5.

    During that stint, Jalyn Stevenson registered three kills. Washburn held on to the lead for the remainder of the set and closed out the frame with 4 unanswered points to take the 6-point win and even the match at 1-1. Stevenson knocked down a team-high six kills with zero errors in the set.
    After dropping the first 2 points in the third set, Washburn came storming back and scored 10 of the next 12 to lead, 10-4.

    A 9-3 run chiseled Washburn's lead down to 19-18, forcing an Ichabod timeout.

    Washburn returned to the court after the timeout and won the next 3 points before Nebraska-Kearney responded with back-to-back points.

    The Lopers initially pulled within one at 22-21 after a kill, but the call was challenged by Washburn and overturned to an attacking error ruling to put the Ichabods up, 23-20. Nebraska-Kearney couldn't get any closer as Washburn went up 2-1 in the match with a 25-21 decision in the third.
    Errors piled up for Washburn in the fourth set as the Ichabods hit a dismal .073 and Nebraska-Kearney never trailed in the game. The Ichabods used a late 4-0 rally to cut the deficit to three at 22-19, but the Lopers won the last 3 points to force the decisive fifth set.
    The fifth set was a back-and-forth battle with six lead changes and 10 tie scores.

  • Washburn, Emporia State set to square off in Turnpike Tussle

    Rick Peterson



    Coming off a big road victory, Washburn University football returns home Saturday to face Emporia State in a 4 p.m. Hall of Fame contest at Yager Stadium.

     KellenSimoncicactionWashburn sophomore quarterback Kellen Simoncic has thrown for 11 touchdowns entering Saturday's 4 p.m. MIAA contest against Emporia State at Yager Stadium. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    Saturday's meeting will be the 118th all-time between the two teams, with Washburn 3-1 overall and in the MIAA and Emporia State 2-2 and 2-2.

    Washburn bounced back from a 21-13 home loss to Nebraska-Kearney in Week 3 with a 38-31 overtime victory at Missouri Western last Saturday while Emporia State is coming off a 14-13 loss to No. 14-ranked Pittsburg State last Saturday in Emporia.

    The Washburn-Emporia State series is the second-most played series in NCAA Division II history as South Dakota Mines and Black Hills State have reclassified to NCAA Division II. Those two schools have met 134 times dating back to 1895.

    The Hornets lead the all-time series 58-53-6 and have won seven of the last nine meetings dating back to 2012. Prior to that the Ichabods ran off eight straight wins over the Hornets from 2004 to 2011.

    Emporia State topped Washburn 35-30 a year ago at Welch Stadium as the Ichabods' late-game comeback rally from a 35-10 deficit coming up short. 

  • Hornets take control early, hold on for 42-35 MIAA win over Ichabods

    Rick Peterson



    For the second straight season Emporia State opened up a big lead over Washburn University and for the second year in a row the Ichabods mounted a furious late-game rally that came up short.

    Emporia State, which has now won eight of its past 10 games against Washburn, jumped out to a commanding 42-14 advantage early in the fourth quarter on Saturday before holding on for a 42-35 MIAA victory at Yager Stadium.

    ESUGleasonEmporia State quarterback Braden Gleason passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday's 42-35 win at Washburn. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    ESUThomasFormer Topeka High standout Corey Thomas (4) tries to get past Washburn defenders Brent Peavler (33) and Christian Clark (25) in Saturday's 42-35 Hornet win over the Ichabods. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Washburn, 3-2 overall and in the MIAA, cut its deficit to seven with 1:54 remaining on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Simoncic to James Letcher Jr., but the Hornets, also 3-2, 3-2, recovered the ensuing onsides kick attempt and were able to run out the clock.

    "We fought hard at the end, but we let them get too far ahead,'' Washburn coach Craig Schurig said. "They're a good team. They can frustrate you and they definitely frustrated us.''

    The Hornets took a 7-0 lead with an 11-play, 78-yard scoring drive, capped by a 7-yard Braden Gleason touchdown pass to Tommy Zimmerman with 7:21 left in the first quarter.

    Emporia State made the score 14-0 on a 16-yard TD pass from Gleason to Tyler Kahmann with 6:16 remaining before halftime, but Washburn responded with a 14-play, 75-yard drive to get on the board with a 1-yard run from Simoncic with 1:06 left in the half.

    Washburn received the second-half kickoff but the Ichabods muffed the kickoff and started their drive at the 3-yard-line.

    The Hornets forced a three and out and then took advantage of the short field for a 31-yard touchdown drive, getting an 8-yard touchdown run from Billy Ross Jr. with 11:46 left in the third quarter.

    Emporia State made the score 28-7 on a 17-yard Gleason pass to Jaylen Varner before Washburn got back in the game with a 77-yard TD pass from Simoncic to Peter Afful.

    The Hornets scored back-to-back TDs to open up a 28-point advantage, with Canaan Brooks scoring on a 15-yard run and Gleason connecting with former Topeka High standout Corey Thomas on a 28-yard scoring pass that proved to be the difference with 13:16 left in the fourth quarter.

    Thomas, who had four catches for 60 yards, said it felt good to come back to Topeka and help the Hornets get a second straight win over the Ichabods.

    "It's a great feeling, honestly,'' Thomas said. "I have a lot of respect for Washburn and they have a great team over there. They're a lot like us in a lot of ways so it's a great win.''

  • Washburn University soccer home for pair of MIAA contests

    Rick Peterson



    Washburn University soccer is finally back at Yager Stadium after a string of four road games and will play host to Missouri Western at 6 p.m. Friday and Northwest Missouri State at 1 p.m. Sunday. 

    The Ichabods enter the week with a record of 7-1-2.

    RaeganWellsnewWashburn goalkeeper Raegan Wells is only allowing .7 of a goal per game and has posted five shutouts for the Ichabods' soccer team. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    Washburn has won seven of its first 10 games for the first time since 2006.

    The Ichabods are coming off an 0-0 tie with Northeastern State on Sunday after taking a 1-0 win over Rogers State last Friday. 

    Washburn is 2-0-1 in conference play after defeating the Hillcats and tying with the RiverHawks and is tied for second place in the MIAA entering the week.

    Ichabod goalkeeper Raegan Wells is allowing only .7 of a goal per game and has recorded a solo shutout in five games this season.

    Jaedyn Johnson leads the Ichabods with five goals on only 16 total shots while Haley Rogers and Khloe Schuckman lead WU with 13 shots on goal. Johnson is tied for fourth in the MIAA in goals scored.

    Eight different players have scored a goal for the Ichabods this season.

    Washburn is third in the MIAA, averaging 7.7 shots on goal per game. The Ichabods also have the third-lowest goals allowed per game average at .7.

    Western enters the week with a record of 3-4-3. Last week the Griffons tied with Nebraska-Kearney 1-1 and lost to Fort Hays State, 1-0.

    Washburn has faced off with Missouri Western State 24 times in program history, with both schools winning 12 games.

    Washburn has lost its last six matchups with the Griffons, with the Ichabods' last win coming on October 21, 2016.

    Goalkeeper Keeley Kroonenberg leads the Griffons with 46 saves on the season and has played every minute so far.

    Sunday's opponent, Northwest Missouri, enters the week with a record of 5-3-2.

    Last week Northwest Missouri lost to Fort Hays State, 1-0, and beat Nebraska-Kearney, 4-0.

    Four different players scored goals and recorded assists in the win over the Lopers.

    Washburn holds a 12-8-4 lead in the series with Northwest Missouri State.

    The last matchup between the two teams came in the 2021 MIAA tournament where Northwest Missouri State eliminated Washburn, winning 5-0.

    The Ichabods have lost the last three matchups against the Bearcats, with the last win coming in 2018. 

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  • No. 8-ranked Washburn University volleyball on the road for MIAA tilts

    Rick Peterson



    No. 8-ranked Washburn volleyball is in the midst of a five-match road trip and will play at Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State Friday and Saturday.

    WashburnVBWashburn volleyball will put its 12-2 record on the line Friday and Saturday with MIAA road matches at Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    Washburn is 12-2 overall and 4-2 in the MIAA after going 1-1 on the road last week.

    Washburn will open the weekend at Missouri Southern, which is 6-8 overall and 1-4 in the MIAA.

    Southern picked up its first conference win with a five-set thriller against Missouri Western Tuesday.

    The Lions have already surpassed their win total from last year when they went 4-26 (1-19 MIAA).

    Washburn leads the all-time series, 45-34, and has won 33 in a row against Missouri Southern.

    Pittsburg State enters the week with a 10-6 record (4-3 MIAA) and will host Emporia State on Friday night before facing the Ichabods on Saturday.

    The Gorillas are also coming off an exciting five-set win, taking down Central Oklahoma on Monday evening.

    The Ichabods have won the last 26 meetings against the Gorillas and own a 72-21 series advantage.

    Washburn is 3-1 in true road matches this year while seven of the Ichabods' 12 victories have been sweeps.

    A year ago the Ichabods won both of their matches with Missouri Southern and all three matches with Pittsburg State.  

    WU's Sophie McMullen has registered a conference-best 28 service aces in 50 sets played. In 110 sets played last year at Northwest Missouri, McMullen landed 31 aces.

    McMullen has had at least one ace in every match except one this season.

    Washburn has recorded nine double-doubles from four different players since Sept. 9.

    The Ichabod setters account for five of those double-doubles as Corinna McMullen has three and Sydney Conner two.

    Jalyn Stevenson has three double-figure kills/digs matches and S. McMullen has one.

    The Ichabods fell at Central Oklahoma in four sets last week before bouncing back with a sweep at Newman.

    As a team, the Ichabods rank third among MIAA programs in hitting percentage (.240), kills per set (13.54), and assists per set (12.48).

    Washburn has also held its opponents to a .160 hitting percentage, the third-lowest opponent attacking percentage in the league. The Ichabods have held 11 opponents to hitting .170 or lower.

    Stevenson, a sophomore outside hitter, is ninth in the league with 150 total kills and knocked down a career-high 17 kills at Central Oklahoma last week.

    Halle Meister is second in the conference and 11th in the nation with a .412 hitting percentage and has 121 kills while Kealy Kiviniemi recorded a career-high 16 kills in Wahburn's three-set win over Newman last Friday. She is fourth on the team with 74 kills and is hitting .326 on the season, which is the eighth-highest in the MIAA.

    Sydney Pullen leads Washburn with 212 total digs and has had 12 double-figure dig matches with four being 20-plus dig performances.

    C. McMullen has made all 14 starts at setter and leads the team with 305 assists. She dished out 11 assists and had a season-high 14 digs against Newman.

    The Ichabods wrap up their five-match road trip next week with a Tuesday match at No. 6 Nebraska-Kearney before returning home for matches against Missouri Western and Central Missouri next Friday and Saturday.

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  • Washburn to induct six members of 2022 Hall of Fame class Saturday

    Rick Peterson



    Washburn University's Athletic Department will induct its 2022 Hall of Fame class at 10 a.m. Saturday prior to the Ichabods' 4 p.m. football game with Emporia State at Yager Stadium.

    2022 HALL OF FAME

    Entering the Washburn Hall of Fame will be recently retired women's basketball coach Ron McHenry, consensus All-American quarterback Dane Simoneau, soccer Academic and Athletic All-American Lisa Fahey, volleyball All-American Breanna Lewis, NAIA tennis standout Dana Backstrom and basketball All-American Rich Hamilton.

    Hall of Fame capsules:

    Dana Backstrom – tennis (1983-86)

    Backstrom was a three-year member of the Lady Blues tennis team after transferring to Washburn from Missouri.

    She won the NAIA District 10 Singles Championship her junior and senior seasons. She reached the NAIA National Championship Tournament twice and led the Lady Blues to the Central State Intercollegiate Conference regular-season title her senior season, when she was also the assistant coach for Peg Marmet.

    Backstrom was the first Washburn women's tennis player to qualify for the NAIA National Tournament. She was also part of the NAIA District 10 championship as a senior with Jalynda Pancin.

    Backstrom passed away on May 25 of this year after a heroic fight with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

    Rich Hamilton – basketball (1986-88)

    Rich Hamilton led the Ichabods in scoring with 15.1 points a game in 1987-88, his senior year as he earned NAIA All-American honorable mention.

    Hamilton played two years at Washburn and scored 850 points, averaging 13.7 a game.

    His senior year he earned NAIA all-district honors, as well as a spot on the All-Central States Intercollegiate Conference team. His senior year he pulled down 9.4 rebounds a game to lead the team and he ended his two years at Washburn with averages of 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

    Hamilton finished fourth in career blocks with 67 blocks and third with 1.1 per game.

    Hamilton was a 61-percent shooter in his two years, peaking with a 63-percent performance his final year. 

    Breanna Lewis – volleyball (2008-11)

    A Seaman graduate, Lewis became the third Lady Blue to earn AVCA first team All-America honors when she finished her career in 2011.

    She is fifth in Washburn history with a .321 career attack percentage and 17th with 1,091 kills. She hit over .320 her final three years and her .344 attack percentage as a senior is the sixth highest single-season percentage in school history.

    Lewis also earned first team AVCA all-region and first team All-MIAA her senior year. She earned honorable mention AVCA all-region her sophomore and junior years and Daktronics second-team all-region recognition her junior year. She was an All-MIAA second-team pick her sophomore and junior years.

  • Former T-Bird Christian Clark continues to make mark on defense for WU

    Rick Peterson



    Former Shawnee Heights standout Christian Clark has found a home in Washburn University's defensive backfield, with the 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior playing in 21 games with 15 starts at cornerback.

     ChristianClark2Former Shawnee Heights standout Christian Clark (25) came up with a key interception for Washburn in last Saturday's 38-31 overtime win at Missouri Western. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    But Clark hasn't forgotten his roots as a running back and would love to get a chance to re-live those days.

    "I do miss being a running back, I' m not going to lie,'' Clark said. "I'm hoping I get to show off my running back skills at some point throughout the season on an interception or a fumble recovery, whatever it is, but I definitely miss being a running back and scoring touchdowns.''

    However, Clark also embraces his role for the Washburn defense since joining the Ichabods for the 2019 season after a year at William Penn (Iowa).

    "I think it just keeps me engaged every single play because playing corner, all it takes is one play to give up a touchdown so you've got to bring it every play, you can't take plays off,'' he said.

    "Personally it just makes me have to become more of a competitor and really just have to embrace those one on one battles I have throughout the game.''

  • Peters TD, Ichabod defensive stop pushes WU to 38-31 OT victory

    Rick Peterson



    ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Washburn Ichabods played their first overtime game of the 2022 season and needed only one offensive play to come away with a 38-31 victory over Missouri Western State.  

    TaylonPetersTaylon Peters scored the game-winning touchdown on a 25-yard run in overtime as Washburn outlasted Missouri Western, 38-31. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    The Griffons (2-2 overall, 2-2 MIAA) scored first, driving nine plays on the opening drive to set up a field goal.

    It would be the first and only lead for Missouri Western in the game.

    Washburn (3-1, 3-1 MIAA) responded with a 40-yard pass from Kellen Simoncic to James Letcher Jr. to set up a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Simoncic into the end zone. 

    The Ichabod defense forced two more punts in the first quarter.

    On the next offensive possession, Simoncic found Letcher again, this time in the end zone from 25 yards out to give Washburn a 14-3 lead.  

    The first Washburn drive of the second quarter stalled in the red zone and the ensuing field goal attempt was blocked by the Griffons.  

    Missouri Western drove 87 yards on 10 plays to score. Ending with back-to-back passes from Reagan Jones to Caleb Martin for 12 and 36 yards respectfully to make it 14-10.  

    Both teams traded punts until the next Ichabod drive with under two minutes in the half. A 29-yard catch and run by Letcher set up another field goal attempt by Kameron Lake which was successful from 38 yards. A long field goal attempt by the Griffons with one second in the half was no good and Washburn led 17-10 at the break.  

    Missouri Western began the third quarter with a 13-play drive to tie the game at 17. The Ichabods needed just four plays to answer, with a 35-yard pass to Washburn Rural grad Collin Wilson setting up a 7-yard rush by Taylon Peters, putting Washburn up 24-17.  

    One punt for each team wrapped up the third quarter. Two plays into the fourth quarter the Griffons tied the game with 14:33 to play after two runs by Jonas Bennett.