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Seniors leave Koch Arena with emotions high

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Wichita State seniors Katy Dudzinski (4), Dani Mostrom (6), and Jody Larson (11) pose together before their final home game of their college careers. The girls were given flowers during a ceremony Saturday night honoring the outgoing seniors.

Wichita State seniors Katy Dudzinski (4), Dani Mostrom (6), and Jody Larson (11) pose together before their final home game of their college careers. The girls were given flowers during a ceremony Saturday night honoring the outgoing seniors.

Matt Crow

Matt Crow

Wichita State seniors Katy Dudzinski (4), Dani Mostrom (6), and Jody Larson (11) pose together before their final home game of their college careers. The girls were given flowers during a ceremony Saturday night honoring the outgoing seniors.

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As Chris Lamb’s seniors took the court for the final time on Saturday night, emotions were high.

Tears strolled down their faces as the three received their bouquet of flowers. A 3-0 sweep over Indiana State followed.

The three seniors all took different paths of adversity to get to where they are now.

“When I look back on it, it’s something that will always have a special place in my heart,” senior libero Dani Mostrom said. “These people have become my family and these teammates are people I always want to have close to my heart.”

Senior middle blocker Katy Dudzinski came into her freshman year injured. After spending some training as a right side middle blocker, Lamb moved her as a middle blocker.

At her new position her senior year, she has averaged 1.63 kills per set to go with a .321 hitting percentage. This included 11 kills in a win at Missouri State to start conference play.

“There ended up being a void in the middle and we asked her to go there,” Lamb said. “She couldn’t wait to get in there and try it.”

Mostrom started out her career as a walk-on setter when she came to WSU. As Mostrom was getting in reps with the setters, Lamb and the coaching staff noticed that she was dominating the passers.

Lamb decided to put her on scholarship as a libero, with Mostrom coming up with the 2015 MVC Libero of the Year. She continues to lead the Shockers with 3.82 digs per set and had 25 digs on Saturday in her final home match of her career.

Lamb said in the 17 years that he has been coaching in Wichita, he has not seen a more complete player than senior outside hitter Jody Larson. Larson, a high school graduate of Maize South, originally started her collegiate volleyball career at the University of Oklahoma.

After her sophomore year, Larson decided to transfer to WSU. After leading WSU to another NCAA Tournament appearance in her junior year, Larson leads the team in kills per set with 3.10.

Larson’s 11 double-doubles this season has helped WSU go 20-7, their 14th straight season of accomplishing 20 or more wins.

“I grew up watching this team and I was a towel girl out there,” Larson said. “Being able to get on this court and play in front of a great crowd was just a special experience just to be apart of. I’m glad I came here. It was the best decision I could’ve made.”

On Saturday, Larson had a double-double with 13 digs and 12 kills to lead the Shockers past the Sycamores.

“It’s a fun story that I’ll be able to tell that ‘hey we had this one gal one time that ran the 6-2 like the 70’s and 80’s,’” Lamb said. “It’s a dying breed. It’s good.”

The Shockers travel to Southern Illinois on Friday before traveling to Evansville Saturday to wrap up the regular season.

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