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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Volleyball sweeps Drake to advance to semifinals of NIVC

Before the match even began, Izzi Strand stood next to redshirt junior Morgan Stout during the starting lineup and said that they were going to win the match; Stout replied with a “hell yeah, we are.” 

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, Wichita State volleyball competed in the National Invitational Volleyball Tournament quarterfinal against the Drake Bulldogs. The Shockers won 3-0 (30-28), (27-25), (25-21).

Wichita State’s attacks came from middle blockers, Stout, a redshirt junior middle blocker, and junior Natalie Foster. 

Stout led the Shockers with 14 kills and six blocks — nine of those kills came in the first set.

“She was just on fire; I can tell from the look in her eyes,” Strand, a senior setter, said. “She’s grown every single game, just gets better and better.” 

Foster said that as a middle blocker herself, it was impressive to see Stout’s performance in the first set. Foster contributed 12 kills, a .522 hitting percentage and seven blocks. 

“You have two middles lead the match in point scoring … you just don’t see that very often,” head coach Chris Lamb said. “It was crazy good for us.” 

During the first set, Wichita State made its best effort to put up points on the board, but the Bulldogs would not go quietly, tying the game every other point.

The Shockers’ largest lead of the night came in the third set when a few defensive errors from Drake allowed them to create a five-point lead, 21-17. 

“There were some tells that the setter had that made it a little bit easier for us to know where the ball might end up … that definitely helped,” Foster said. 

Strand put up 8 kills of her own and had 44 assists. She said that, as a tall setter, she has always liked scoring.

“Before coming here, that was one of my specialties, and I haven’t really gotten the rhythm,” Strand said. “I always want to score; I feel like it helps the hitters.”

Strand said that she scouted Drake before the game and saw that they’ve had a hard time stopping the middles. She texted the team before the game and told them that they would win because they had a strong middle.

“We know we can win in the middle, and we’re so good at it,” Strand said. “Our connections have always been great.”

Strand said that competing in the tournament has been a blast because she came from a program that would not make it to the postseason.

“I think everyone has a mentality like ‘We’re going all the way,’ and we’re gonna win this because we’re here, and we want to win,” Strand said. 

Up next, Wichita State will face off against Montana State in the semifinals of the NIVC on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. in Charles Koch Arena.

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About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
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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