Mostrom puts Shockers back on track

Junior libero Gabi Mostrom gave Wichita State volleyball a spark during her freshman season. In 2014, the Springfield, Missouri, native started her freshman year at WSU with 204 digs — the third highest on the team.

Due to playing different sets throughout her sophomore year in 2015, Mostrom saw action in just 17 matches and contributed 68 digs on the season.

“Since freshman year, it’s been almost an up and down for me,” Mostrom said. “Sophomore year I wasn’t performing as well I should’ve been. I did get the chance to consistently play at the end.”

Earning her way into the regular rotation towards the end of the 2015-16 season, Mostrom gave WSU a defensive spark in their NCAA tournament first round game against Kansas State. Her season-high of 12 digs helped the Shockers force KSU to a .238 hitting percentage to give WSU a 3-1 match victory.

Managing to come up with one dig in each of her first two matches, Mostrom was more active by averaging 3.67 digs a match during the final six non conference games, giving the Shockers more depth.

“With this being my third year, I notice that I don’t get as nervous in the games,” Mostrom said. “It all comes back to confidence, knowing that I can make those plays, make those digs, and be there for my team.”

According to head coach Chris Lamb, Mostrom and others in a similar role were not executing defensively for the Shockers weeks ago. This required an adjustment that allowed Mostrom to be more active defensively in conference play, as she helped the Shockers force opponents to hit .168 over the course of an 8-1 start in the Missouri Valley Conference.

“Several people in a similar role to Gabi really weren’t getting it done a few weeks ago,” Lamb said. “We certainly discussed it and we certainly got into a different routine in practice to get it going for them.”

Things seemed to take a downward spiral for the Shockers, as they dropped their next two home matches to Missouri State and Northern Iowa. Mostrom only played one set on the Oct. 28 loss, contributing two digs.

After a team meeting, Mostrom took it upon herself to get the Shockers back to their winning ways. Mostrom led the Shockers on the defensive side of the net in Saturday’s sweep over Drake, coming up with a season-high 12 digs to lift WSU to a 3-0 sweep.

“Sometimes you get an identity crisis and you don’t know who you are for the team. I’m happy with how (Gabi) has come out of it.”

— Chris Lamb, WSU Volleyball coach

“Sometimes you get an identity crisis and you don’t know who you are for the team,” Lamb said. “She’s dug herself out of a rut. I’m happy with how (Gabi) has come out of it.”

As the Shockers look to climb back to the top of the MVC standings, Mostrom’s teammates continue to expect her significant contributions.

“We can finally breathe again when Gabi makes that really good dig,” sophomore outside hitter Tabitha Brown said. “I’m proud of her. She’s doing her job and the team needs something like that.”