Shockers leave Nebraska empty handed, losing streak extends to six straight matches

Wichita+State+freshman+Sina+Uluave+serves+the+ball+during+the+game+against+Nebraska+on+September+21%2C+2019+at+Bob+Devaney+Sports+Center.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Shockers leave Nebraska empty handed, losing streak extends to six straight matches

Wichita State freshman Sina Uluave serves the ball during the game against Nebraska on September 21, 2019 at Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Wichita State freshman Sina Uluave serves the ball during the game against Nebraska on September 21, 2019 at Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Khánh Nguyễn

Wichita State freshman Sina Uluave serves the ball during the game against Nebraska on September 21, 2019 at Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Khánh Nguyễn

Khánh Nguyễn

Wichita State freshman Sina Uluave serves the ball during the game against Nebraska on September 21, 2019 at Bob Devaney Sports Center.

The Wichita State volleyball team traveled to Nebraska over the weekend for the Creighton Classic in Omaha on Thursday and Friday, and a matinee matchup with the No. 1 nationally ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday.

The Shockers won their only set of the weekend Friday against Wyoming. They were swept by Nebraska and No. 15 Creighton.

Khánh Nguyễn
Wichita State redshirt freshman Brylee Kelly goes up for a kill during the game against Wyoming on September 20, 2019 at D.J. Soko arena in Omaha, Nebraska.

Coming into the weekend, Head Coach Chris Lamb said he wanted to improve his team’s setting and libero positions. Lamb played three setters throughout the weekend — Kora Kauling, Kayce Litzau, and McKayla Wuensch.

Kauling led the team with 34 assists on the weekend, but Litzau finished with 31 assists, playing in two fewer sets than Kauling. Wuensch tallied 10 assists total. The team as a whole was out-assisted 125-84 in the three matches.

“There’s definitely a narrative in the air — we’re out set and we’re out liberoed,” Lamb said after the loss to Wyoming. “Our setters and our liberos are losing the battle on the other side of the net. I told them I’d let them know before any match where I thought we’d win both of those. There’s been some close, but I can’t give them a win yet.”

Lamb was positive on the freshman Litzau after the Creighton Classic.

“Super happy for her. Just getting more experience in a freshman setter is important,” Lamb said.

After the previous weekend’s disappointing Shocker Volleyball Classic, Lamb said he hoped his team’s offense could take a step forward. The Shockers responded by hitting just .055 over the weekend compared to their opponents’ .252. WSU was outhit 133-91. They also recorded 68 attacking errors.

During the Shockers’ six-match losing streak, dating back to the Shocker Classic, the team has played in 20 total sets. WSU has won just two of those sets.

Khánh Nguyễn
Wichita State senior Kara Bown saves the ball during the game against Nebraska on September 21, 2019 at Bob Devaney Sports Center.

One positive take away from the weekend was the libero play from senior Kara Bown. Lamb admitted that Bown was benched in the team’s home tournament, but she impressed him enough in practice to be reinserted into the lineup during their trip to the Cornhusker state.

“Kara’s had to hear some difficult things,” Lamb said. “Giorgia’s (Civita) not coming back. We had to bench her at our home tournament. She’s had an amazing week of practice and she’s never looked better.”

Bown’s play in the Creighton Classic earned her a spot on the All-Tournament team. In the two matches, she recorded 34 digs, four service aces, four assists, and a single kill. Against Wyoming, Bown tallied a career-high 23 digs and three aces.

Her positive weekend continued against the top-ranked Cornhuskers. Bown, who received a standing ovation from the 8,000-plus hometown crowd in attendance, recorded nine digs and two aces in Lincoln.

Khánh Nguyễn
Wichita State senior Kara Bown celebrates during the game against Wyoming on September 20, 2019 at D.J. Soko arena.

WSU’s loss to Nebraska on Saturday marked the end of the team’s non-conference slate. Lamb and his team will look to snap the losing streak against the Golden Hurricane at 7 p.m. Friday in Tulsa.

Moving forward, Lamb said he wants his team to carry themselves with a positive mindset.

“Stay in the process, be big-brained, keep learning, keep training, keep getting better at volleyball,” he said.

Khánh Nguyễn
Wichita State freshman Kayce Litzau serves the ball during the game against Wyoming on September 20, 2019 at D.J. Soko arena.