Brown’s 17 kills extends volleyball’s 20-win streak to 14 seasons


Tabitha Brown goes up for a kill against Indiana State. Brown had 17 kills in WSU’s win. Photo by Matt Crow

Sophomore outside hitter Tabitha Brown started her collegiate volleyball career at the University of Alabama. After playing in only 15 matches, Brown decided to leave the school.

She chose to attend Wichita State because of the different system that was used and the coaching. Brown enrolled as a Shocker during the spring semester of 2016 in order to hit the ground running in the fall.

“Whenever it comes to recruitment and all that stuff, a lot of coaches can say what you want to hear,” Brown said. “Someone like (head coach Chris Lamb) is very straight up. The first time I got here, he gave me the full run down of how he saw me, and it wasn’t perfect and I liked that. I feel a lot more comfortable playing for him.”

After a career-high of 20 kills on Friday against Illinois State, Brown had a game-high of 17 kills to give WSU the sweep 3-0 over Indiana State at Charles Koch Arena on Saturday night.

Four kills and a block from Brown gave the Shockers an early 8-2 lead in the first set. Two attack errors by WSU cut the lead 11-9 and two more by the Shockers tied the score at 15.

WSU rallied to go on a 5-0 scoring run and a block and a kill by Brown allowed the Shockers to take set one 25-20.

“We were getting the ball out kind of fast,” Brown said. “A lot of their blockers weren’t there and we saw a lot of holes. It was kind of a lucky deal for me.”

Brown’s 10th and 11th kill pushed WSU to a 7-2 in the beginning of the second set. Two kills from junior middle blocker Abbie Lehman and a block by junior setter Emily Hiebert pushed the WSU lead 11-3.

The Shockers went on an 8-1 scoring run, capped off by kills from Lehman and Hiebert to allow the Shockers to move ahead 17-6, but four straight points by the Sycamores cut their deficit 18-10. Kills from Lehman and senior outside hitter Jody Larson finished off Indiana State in set two 25-14.

WSU forced Indiana State to hit -.047 with seven kills and nine errors, averaging a .044 attacking percentage in that stretch.

“In the second set, when they pushed us a little bit, we brought them up with errors,” Lamb said. “We got the rally started and proved to be a good way to play.”

Kills from Brown and Lehman allowed the Shockers to jump out to an early 6-2 lead in the third set. A service ace by freshman outside hitter Alex Koon extended the Shockers’ lead 12-4.

After an ISU kill, WSU responded by scoring four straight points. Kills from Larson and junior outside hitter Mikaela Raudsepp along with a service ace by Hiebert pushed the Shocker lead 16-5.

Three consecutive kills from Lehman and Brown gave the Shockers a 23-9 lead, using a .680 hitting percentage in set three. Larson’s kill gave the Shockers their 20th win of the season and the sweep over ISU by taking set three 25-9.

Larson came up with a double double in her final home game of her career with 12 kills and 13 digs. Senior libero Dani Mostrom came up with a game high of 25 digs in her final home game as a Shocker.

“(My double double) is not just me,” Larson said. “Without our passers and Emily setting everything, I couldn’t do it without them. It was a great night.”

Raudsepp added six kills while Lehman contributed six. Hiebert assisted on 39 scores along with scoring off four kills.

WSU (20-7, 13-3) trails by one game to Missouri State in the Missouri Valley Conference standings and travels to Southern Illinois on Friday