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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Volleyball splits road clashes against Rice

Sophia+Rohling+spikes+the+ball+over+the+net+to+KU.+Rohling+scored+14+kills+during+the+four+sets+on+Sept.+7.
Kristy Mace
Sophia Rohling spikes the ball over the net to KU. Rohling scored 14 kills during the four sets on Sept. 7.

Wichita State University volleyball traveled to Houston this weekend to take on Rice. The Shockers completed a stunning comeback to win on Friday 3-2 but lost the matchup on Saturday 3-1.

Friday

On Nov. 17, Wichita State completed their first reverse sweep of the season, losing the first two sets but storming back to take the final three and win the match (25-23 Rice, 25-21 Rice, 25-22 WSU, 25-18 WSU, 15-8 WSU).

Wichita State built a seven-point lead in the first set and a five-point lead in the second, but Rice was able to overcome the deficits to take a commanding match lead.

It seemed that the Shockers would be swept after they fell behind 8-4 in the third set, but a rally highlighted by 5 kills from junior blocker Natalie Foster allowed the team to make a comeback.

Rice cut an early Wichita State lead in the fourth set to 16-14, but from there, the rest of the match was all Shockers. The team went on a 9-4 run to clinch the fourth set before running away with the fifth set to win the match and shock the Rice crowd.

Junior hitter Barbara Koehler led the Shockers with 16 kills — a new season-high. Senior hitter Sophia Rohling registered her first career double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs. Senior setter Izzi Strand tallied 59 assists, her second-most of the season.

The Shockers had a great defensive effort in the game. They finished with 117 digs, the team’s most in a match since 2007. Sophomore libero Gabi Maas set the pace with 25, and junior hitter Morgan Weber tied her career-high with 23.

Saturday

The next day, Wichita State attempted to continue the momentum they had the previous night, but the Shockers fell short in the final three sets, losing 3-1 (25-23 WSU, 25-13 Rice, 25-21 Rice, 25-22 Rice).

Wichita State led the entirety of the first set but were dominated in the second thanks to 5-0 and 6-0 Rice runs.

The Shockers took a 19-18 lead in the third frame before another 5-0 run from Rice gave the team the momentum to take the match lead. In the fourth set, Wichita State cut an early Rice lead to 23-22 before a block and kill sealed the match win for the Owls.

Foster played an excellent game in the losing effort. She set a new season-high with 17 kills on 29 attempts, leading the Shockers. Strand yet again led the team with 46 assists and had a season-high 16 digs, while Maas had 18 digs.

Wichita State now has a 20-8 record on the season and is 14-4 in AAC conference play. The regular season concludes on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m. at Charles Koch Arena against UAB for Senior Night.

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About the Contributors
Jacob Unruh, Assistant Sports Editor
Jacob Unruh is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. He is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. This is Unruh's first year on staff. He goes by he/him pronouns.
Kristy Mace, Photo Editor
Kristy Mace is the photo editor for The Sunflower. She's majoring in psychology. Currently a junior, Mace hopes to go on to get her Ph.D. and become a neuropsychologist. She also plays for Wichita State's bowling team and does professional photography aside from The Sunflower.

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