Lamb: “I’m happy and proud,” even in preseason loss


Easton Thompson

Wichita State’s Emma Wright serves the ball during the last set of their exhibition against Kansas on Aug. 17 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Last season was one to forget for Chris Lamb and Wichita State volleyball. The team was picked to win the conference, but failed to record a .500 record. Change was imminent.

For the past two years Lamb has been trying to schedule an exhibition match with Kansas. When the schedule presented itself this season, the team’s accepted. Both WSU and the Jayhawks showed off particularly young lineups on Saturday, but the Shockers were much younger.

This past year, 13 players departed from the program. Kali Eaken and Tabitha Brown were the only ones leaving due to graduation. In the summer, Lamb and his staff were able to bring in multiple transfers, as well as eight true freshman to complete a facelift the program needed.

Ideally, bringing in this many new faces would raise road bumps for teams. For the Shockers, it transformed into one of the best summers the program has seen.

“The returning players, Megan (Taflinger) and Giorgia (Civita), they crafted as good of a summer that we’ve ever had here,” Lamb said. “We were able to bring in a lot of freshman in over the summer, they were A-plus, and I’m just so happy and proud.”

The new faces embraced the change. The team made it through two-a-days, and the newcomers were accepting every piece of information thrown at them. All the work that the team has been doing was finally shown off on Saturday. Even in a match where the Jayhawks won 3-2, Lamb showed positivity.

“We got everything we wanted,” Lamb said. “We wanted five sets if we could get there. When we had our probable starters in, I felt pretty competitive, there’s so much we haven’t got to in terms of practice, with that being said, against a more physical opponent I felt like we were still able to be competitive.”

“I wanted to see these guys learn a little bit more about each other, to get to do it under the lights was a valuable experience and I got to see that today.”

Taflinger, who led WSU with eight kills in three sets against KU, was also impressed with how the team chemistry played out with a young squad.

“I thought we played well as a team, even with three or four freshman on the court at a time,” Taflinger said. “It was great to see all of the different lineups, everyone was changing things up, and it was just refreshing to see how different it felt this year then from last year.”

Overall, Lamb was just relieved with the effort his team gave on Saturday.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Lamb said. “The newcomers didn’t look rattled to me. I’m pretty happy they just fought and it looked like we were together while doing that.”

Wichita State kicks off the regular season on August 30 against Holy Cross in the Penn State Classic.