Volleyball prepares for No. 1 Stanford


Matt Crow

Wichita State freshman Giorgia Civita Shelton hits the ball back to Memphis. (Nov. 24, 2017)

Wichita State volleyball has a schedule loaded with NCAA Tournament teams. Saturday, WSU (3-0) — who has won two grind-it-out games against opponents expected to be strong RPI teams — will face the nation’s top team, Stanford.

Through three games, the emphasis for WSU has been its defense. The team’s efficiency blocking has been limited. WSU has averaged just 14 blocks per game to their opponents’ 37.

Yet, the team has a perfect record against three opponents who all made the NCAA Tournament last year. That’s largely due to the success of sophomore libero Giorgia Civita.

Civita, the AAC Defensive Player of the Week, showed out with a career-high 34 digs in a five-set match against James Madison. She has 95 digs through three games.

This weekend, at an invitational hosted by Brigham Young in Provo, Utah, WSU will aim to improve their RPI with two an RPI-studded three-game series featuring No. 1 Stanford and No. 9 BYU.

Stanford and WSU share a victory, each team having defeated Howard. WSU defeated Howard in four sets; Stanford handled them in three. Stanford is yet to lose a set in either of its two matches to start the season.

Stanford advanced to the semifinal of last year’s NCAA Tournament. The team won the NCAA Championship in 2016.

BYU advanced to the regional semifinal of last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Saturday is the first meeting between Stanford and WSU. The Shockers will also meet West Virginia for the first time in program history.