Shockers extend winning streak to four games with victory over Kent State


Khánh Nguyễn/ The Sunflower

Junior Lily Liekweg celebrates during the game against Kent State University on Sep 10 at Horejsi Family Volleyball Center.

Wichita State defeated Kent State in four sets (25-15, 25-20, 23-25, 25-14) to open up the Kansas Invitational on Friday afternoon in Lawerence, Kansas. The victory extended WSU’s winning streak to four games to open up the season.

The victory was WSU’s first action since withdrawing from the SD Invite due to “COVID-19 related issues” within the program last weekend. This weekend, the Shockers are without four starters from their last match and traveled with 12 of the 17 players on its roster.

“I’m extremely happy with our patience and when that team pushed coming back and taking that third set, we were down big and came back,” head coach Chris Lamb said. “It’s exciting to see a young team, a new team basically not folding it up and coming out fierce and making effort plays in that fourth set.”

One of the bright spots throughout the match was the play of WSU’s middles stepping up with the absence of starting middle Morgan Stout. Lauren McMahon and Natalie Foster both made an impact on the match with the pair combining for 19 kills.

“All of the stuff we’re doing in the middles is new for both of these guys,” Lamb said. “Neither of them are really locking the door with the skillset demands of an M1 and we have two middles, we only had one for the last two weeks of practice. We’re just trying to spoon-feed that thing as much as we can and give it as much attention as we can. The numbers were pretty good against an old, organized team to deal with that.”

Sophomore Sophia Rohling led the way in the match with a game-high 18 kills, while sophomore setter Kayce Litzau fnished with a 43 assists. The Shockers hit .269 as a team and tallied 56 kills. Lily Liekweg tallied a team-high 20 digs defensively.

Lamb said it was an impressive win for the Shockers, with them being shorthanded.

“Coming out of here with this win against a team that’s going to do a lot in their league and they’re old and well put together,” Lamb said. “They don’t have a hole in that lineup, there’s a right kid in every spot, they play it the right way, they present issues and they have plenty of ways to get out of trouble. I’m just really happy that we continue to put the puzzle together.”

Given the 13-day layoff between matches, Lamb said he is happy with the response of this young Shocker team.

“This is a young, enthusiastic, fun-loving, really seem to apperciate and enjoy each other group. It’s been a lot of fun and I think they’ve handled this curveball we’ve been thrown about as well as to be expected.”

Next up, the Shockers will take on the University of Kansas at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena at 7 p.m. The match will also be broadcast on ESPN+.

“I’m going to measure the energy, I’m going to measure the fight,” Lamb said. “I want to know if we hit rough patches of not being great communicators, I’m going to look for people looking defeated. I know we’re going to try our hardest to stay in it and battle and never give up on it.”