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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 heads to NIVC championship match after sweeping Montana State

When starting the volleyball season, senior transfer Izzi Strand’s main goal was to make a postseason run. Now, Wichita State volleyball will advance to the championship match of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship after sweeping Montana State 3-0 (25-21), (26-24), (25-20). 

“It’s definitely one of the things that I wrote down as like, I’m gonna achieve this goal, I want to go to some postseason and make it as far as possible,” Strand said.

A fast-paced first set saw the Shockers open up with a combined 9 kills from redshirt junior Morgan Stout and senior Sophia Rohling. Montana State would put up a fight, making three service aces that would move them just one point above, 21-20, before Wichita State would call timeout. 

The Shockers would come back, and Rohling would score the final two points to take the set.

The Bobcats would not go quietly, putting all their effort into the second set, an effort that created 12 ties throughout. Neither team could gain more than a two-point lead. Wichita State would score the next three points on a service ace from Strand and a block assist by Rohling and junior Natalie Foster to take the set. 

The Shockers would keep the momentum going into the third set and would lead by as much as five points. During the second and third sets, Wichita State’s defensive line would position themselves farther back to adjust to Montana State’s service errors.

Strand said the back row’s adjustment allowed for easy points.

“They started talking to each other,” Strand said. “They followed them all the way to the line. I think those are some really crucial points for us because (Montana State) was just a little bit out, and we got those points.” 

Head volleyball coach Chris Lamb said there have been many matches where he hasn’t felt comfortable with the back row but has been impressed by their ability to adjust recently. 

“We have obviously dug our way out,” Lamb said. “We’ve figured out a way to keep rallies alive and stay in.” 

Stout hit .565 on 14 kills, leading the Shockers, while Rohling added eight terminations of her own. Strand contributed 33 assists and one service ace. 

With the tournament championship game ahead of them, Stout said that her mentality going in is to win.

“My number one goal going into literally every single game is like ‘I’m winning this game,’ regardless, just having that sort of mentality,” Stout said. “Regardless if you’re playing bad or good, like if you’re just having a winning mentality of like, you’re going to execute this game that helps out your team so much.” 

Wichita State will go on the road for the first time this postseason face off against the University of Texas El Paso in the championship game of the NIVC on Dec. 12. First serve is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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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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