Shockers on verge of ending 15-year streak


Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State volleyball coaching staff yells to their players during their game against SMU on Nov. 11, 2018 at Koch Arena.

Wichita State volleyball has won 20 or more games for the last 15 seasons. WSU has four games remaining on its schedule, and a 12-14 record.

The team has dropped three of their last four games — two of which were lost in three sets.

Head Coach Chris Lamb referenced the Shockers’ 2008 season. That year, WSU went undefeated, before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Lamb mentioned how although the team went undefeated, a majority of their matches that year were decided by three or four points.

“I’ve always held on to how tight these matches are, and how it doesn’t take much to change a culture,” Lamb said on his weekly coach’s show.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State’s Regan Stiawalt spikes the ball during their game against SMU on Nov. 11, 2018 at Koch Arena.

The Shockers scheduled one of the most challenging schedules the program has had in Lamb’s tenure. WSU played five teams ranked in the AVCA poll, including Brigham Young and Stanford — No. 1 and No. 2, respectively at the time.

“I don’t regret the schedule I offered up this team,” Lamb said. “We weren’t at full strength at a time we needed to be.

“All of those losses were close. I think we were in a position to get everything we wanted.”

WSU hasn’t finished with fewer than 19 wins since 2002, Lamb’s third year with the program. Should the team win out their remaining four games, they’ll finish with the third-lowest season win total in Lamb’s career with the Shockers. The team had eight wins in his first season with the program, and 11 wins the following season.

Evan Pflugradt
Wichita State players strategize. Wichita State lost to Southern Methodist in three sets Sunday at Charles Koch Arena.

“Having been more in tune with the NBA, I’ve heard Charles Barkley say so many times through the years, it’s not about the coaches, it’s about the players,” Lamb said. “The players, it’s all on them.

“As a college coach, I want to shoulder much more of that. At the end of the day, they need to meet you in the middle, and they need to meet you in the middle for four months.”

The Shockers have dealt with injuries to much of their front line this season. Those injuries came at times WSU’s schedule was at its peak difficulty.

“An injury can do it,” Lamb cited as a factor behind the team’s losing record. “A few weeks of practice where people aren’t improving and you become stagnant, someone will catch you.

“If the schedule lines up in the wrong way, on a week where you’re not on point and the right team is in the gym, you’ll lose.”

Evan Pflugradt
Wichita State Head Coach Chris Lamb looks away after his team gives up a point. Wichita State lost to Southern Methodist in three sets Sunday at Charles Koch Arena.