Raudsepp’s 14 digs helps volleyball to third straight sweep, first place standing


Matt Crow

Mikaela Raudsepp, senior outside hitter, serves the ball.

Junior outside hitter Mikaela Raudsepp normally plays on the front row for Wichita State volleyball, where she averages 2.78 kills per set. Raudsepp was seeing more action in the back row, however, in Monday’s match against Southern Illinois.

Raudsepp’s efforts from behind allowed her to come up with a game-high 14 digs while adding 11 kills. Her double-double performance helped the Shockers to a 3-0 sweep over the Salukis, moving into first in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.

“I did hit out of the back row (in club volleyball), and I love hitting out of the back row,” Raudsepp said. “I know that getting those opportunities requires me to hold my own back there.”

Senior middle blocker Katy Dudzinski and sophomore outside hitter Tabitha Brown gave the Shockers an early 6-4 lead set one with two straight kills. The Salukis tied the set at 10 with two straight kills, before kills from Brown and senior outside hitter Jody Larson allowed WSU regain the lead 12-10.

A service ace from Brown extended the lead 19-13, but two kills from (9 SIU) allowed the Salukis to climb back 23-20. Kills from junior setter Emily Hiebert and junior middle blocker Abbie Lehman finished off SIU in the first set, with the Shockers taking set one 25-21.

Lehman scored off a kill set up from Hiebert, who gave the Shockers a 9-5 lead with a block to start the Shocker’s offense up in the second set. Three blocks from Lehman and Brown’s second service ace pushed WSU to a 14-6 lead.

WSU’s defense forced SIU to go from hitting .607 in the first set to .206 in the second set, allowing the Shockers to take a 25-15 set two victory.

“In set two, (SIU) didn’t go (to the middle) as much,” head coach Chris Lamb said. “We started handling our defense differently and the numbers showed that it was better.”

The Shocker’s third service ace of the game, scored by redshirt freshman outside hitter Alex Koon, and a kill from Larson gave WSU an early 5-3 lead in set three. SIU responded with three straight points, but two consecutive attack errors moved the Shockers ahead 18-14.

Three consecutive kills from Larson moved WSU’s lead 22-18, allowing the Shockers to finish the game on a 6-1 scoring run to claim set three 25-18 and the match with their third straight sweep in four days.

“We gave these guys a pretty simple game plan,” Lamb said. “We played four rotations one way and two rotations another, and worked on it like crazy.

“This was a match where both teams were ripping, but it’s what worked tonight.”

WSU finished the match hitting .463 while forcing the Salukis to hit .178 in the final two sets. Larson scored in double-digit kills in her fourth straight game with 10 kills in Monday’s win.

Dudzinski started the match scoring nine kills off her first nine swings, finishing with 11 kills off 13 attacks to set fourth on the all-time WSU list for attacking percentage by hitting .846. Hiebert contributed 42 assists and added seven digs on Monday.

“This team has so much potential,” Dudzinski said. “It just shows that we’re here, and we’re ready and we’re coming at you.”