Sense of urgency starting to build inside locker room for Shocker volleyball

Wichita+State+redshirt+sophomore+Megan+Taflinger+goes+up+for+a+serve+during+the+game+against+Cincinnati+on+September+29%2C+2019+at+Koch+Arena.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Sense of urgency starting to build inside locker room for Shocker volleyball

Wichita State redshirt sophomore Megan Taflinger goes up for a serve during the game against Cincinnati on September 29, 2019 at Koch Arena.

Wichita State redshirt sophomore Megan Taflinger goes up for a serve during the game against Cincinnati on September 29, 2019 at Koch Arena.

Khánh Nguyễn

Wichita State redshirt sophomore Megan Taflinger goes up for a serve during the game against Cincinnati on September 29, 2019 at Koch Arena.

Khánh Nguyễn

Khánh Nguyễn

Wichita State redshirt sophomore Megan Taflinger goes up for a serve during the game against Cincinnati on September 29, 2019 at Koch Arena.

In sports, it’s hard to lose games. It’s even harder to lose multiple games in a row. After Sunday’s match against Cincinnati, Wichita State has now lost eight straight matches.

The team’s last win dates all the way back to the first week of September. Now, a sense of urgency is starting to build inside the Shocker locker room.

“At some point, we need to turn it on — we need to win,” junior setter McKayla Wuensch said. “We are urgent to get to that point. We need it.”

On Friday, WSU narrowly lost to conference foe Tulsa in five sets. The team came back and showed fight, but regardless of their play, it still resulted in another tally in the loss column. Wuensch said she feels winning has to come “now,” rather than later.

“In non-conference, it was about learning everyday,” Wuensch said. “But conference is here, so it’s got to be now. This is when it matters, and it’s not happening.”

Khánh Nguyễn
Wichita State junior Mckayla Wuensch digs the ball during the game against Cincinnati on September 29, 2019 at Koch Arena.
Wichita State junior Mckayla Wuensch digs the ball during the game against Cincinnati on September 29, 2019 at Koch Arena.

The Shockers knew the non-conference slate was going to provide road bumps. They played five top-25 teams, including three teams that have cracked the top-5 this season. Now, in American Athletic Conference play, the level of talent was supposed to even out. Not a single team in the AAC is ranked inside the top-25, and just one team, the Bearcats, are receiving votes in the latest AVCA poll.

Senior Emma Wright said those non-conference games were for the team’s “brains.”

“Those teams are more physically talented than us,” Wright said. “But now it’s really about what we can execute. It’s not just about effort like in the past — that should be a given.

“Now, it’s about executing, and putting a lineup out there that can win.”

A consistent lineup is something Head Coach Chris Lamb is still searching for. The team still hasn’t found their setter or libero, and continues to use a multitude of different combinations in the middle and on the outside. Against Cincinnati on Sunday, Lamb switched out liberos in the middle of the game, playing three different middles and four different outside hitters.

Senior libero Kara Bown, who worked her way back into the starting lineup last weekend after being benched the weekend before, started on Sunday, but freshman Arianna Arjomand was the one who finished the match at the defensive specialist position.

“I’m searching for consistency,” Lamb said after Sunday’s loss. “I don’t want to change liberos in the middle of the match, but I feel like we have to do it.”

Khánh Nguyễn
Wichita State freshman Arianna Arjomand digs the ball during the game against Cincinnati on September 29, 2019 at Koch Arena.

Lamb emphasized after the loss that his team needs to find scoring. One consistent piece that the Shockers have at the moment is sophomore outside hitter Megan Taflinger, who led the team with 10 kills against the Bearcats. Outside of Taflinger, the team has been struggling to find consistent hitters.

“[Hitting] continues to be an issue,” Lamb said. “We’ve got to be able to pure balls and play with more confidence on the offensive end.”

The Shockers will look to break their losing streak on Friday when they travel to Memphis to take on the Tigers. The match is slated to start at 7 p.m.