Volleyball pushes to 13th consecutive season with 20 or more wins

The Wichita State volleyball team’s 20-plus win seasons are becoming a common phenomenon. The last year they won less than 20 games was in 2002 with an 18-13 record.

For the now 21-7 (12-2) No. 1 MVC-ranked Shocker volleyball squad, two wins over Drake and Northern Iowa on Friday led the team to yet another season with a 20-win milestone. 

The four-set match put Wichita State back in its groove after a loss against Southern Illinois last week, but the team didn’t exactly come out with all guns firing as it dropped one set to the No. 8 Drake Bulldogs, which the team has now defeated 31 consecutive times.

After winning the first set 25-22, the team lost its composure in the second set, falling 25-22.

“We need to make sure we take every game seriously,” setter Emily Heibert said. “I don’t want to say we overlooked them, but we need to make sure we play our hardest every game.” 

Coach Chris Lamb said he was not happy with the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Shockers early on in the night.

“They were pretty excitable over on the other side of the net to start that match,” Lamb said. “We seemed to be dragging through the mud.”

After the loss, WSU revamped and came out ready to compete in a 5-1 offense, winning the next two sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-17.

Abbie Lehman led offensively with 14 kills, nearing a .500 hitting percentage. Mikaela Raudsepp was close behind with 13 kills, while Heibert had 38 assists and 11 digs, and libero Dani Mostrom had 16 digs.

Saturday night against No. 5 UNI came with a 25-15, 25-16 and 25-20 sweep, and a game plan that was focused.

“We just kept this one very simple and minimized the moving parts,” Lamb said. “We were going to stay with the rotations until something got crazy away from us.”

Team leaders included Raudsepp with 15 kills, Lehman with 11, hitting .769 percent, Heibert with 35 assists and Mostrom with 17 digs. 

“Any coach is going to be googly-eyed happy when outside hitters are scoring at a rate like that,” Lamb said. 

For a team that has been playing around with many different rotation styles and techniques, simplicity was something they had been searching for. 

“I think keeping it simple means having confidence in every single player on the floor,” Raudsepp said. “If you know that everyone out there is going to do their job, it can’t get more simple than that.” 

Along with two wins, the week came with a personal achievement for senior Katie Reilly, who was named to the CoSIDA All-District Second Team, which recognizes student athletes for academics and athletics, according to the website. 

From Cypress, Texas, Reilly has a 3.93 GPA, and is majoring in exercise science. 

The Shockers’ next match-up will take place at 4 p.m. Friday at Loyola.