WSU’s Kali Eaken likely out for season, Taflinger day-to-day


Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State’s Kali Eaken gets helped off the court during their game against ECU on Oct. 12, 2018 at Koch Arena.

Volleyball Head Coach Chris Lamb doesn’t expect to see Kali Eaken in a Wichita State uniform again.

Eaken, a fifth-year senior from Bishop Miege High School in Kansas City, did not play in WSU’s loss to first-place Cincinnati on Sunday. Eaken suffered an injury to her knee in the first set of WSU’s three-set victory over East Carolina on Friday.

MRI results have not yet determined the extent of Eaken’s injury. Lamb said Eaken is “not passing the physical tests” with the team’s athletic trainer.

“I feel pretty comfortable saying that [the training staff] got it right,” Lamb said Monday on his weekly coach’s show. “I feel confident in saying that we’re not expecting to have her back.”

Eaken, a 5-10 senior, played three seasons with Louisville. She attended Kansas State her freshman year, where she took a redshirt season. With one year of NCAA eligibility remaining, Lamb recruited Eaken to fill an open spot as one of the team’s designated setters.

“She was going to have the time of her life setting this team this year, and her time got cut short,” Lamb said. “It’s a tough break.”

Lamb said he believes Eaken was displaced in three years at Louisville. Eaken won three Kansas High School State Volleyball Championships with Bishop Miege.

“It’s a tough break,” Lamb said.

WSU continues to field injuries. WSU lost sophomore Emma Wright out of the front line with a broken thumb. The injury placed her out of play for six weeks.

Redshirt freshman Megan Taflinger, who provided a spark in Wright’s absence, also didn’t play Sunday. Taflinger is said to be “day-to-day” with a strained abdominal muscle.

Lamb said abdominal injuries are often hard to judge.

“It’s sort of like playing with that fourth foul,” Lamb said. “Does it get worse or do you give it a month?

“It’s a difficult volleyball injury to manage.”

WSU forced Cincinnati to five sets Sunday, despite the injuries. The Shockers (9-9; 4-3) are currently tied for third in the AAC standings.

Lamb will continue to manage the timetables for Wright and Taflinger. He said he could see “his best team” hitting the floor together close to the end of the season, should they have an opportunity for post-season play.

“It’ll be close.”