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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 crowned champions of NIVC after sweeping UTEP

The+Shockers+celebrate+a+point+made+in+the+second+set+against+Montana+State+on+Dec.+9.+
Kristy Mace
The Shockers celebrate a point made in the second set against Montana State on Dec. 9.

Wichita State volleyball won its first national postseason title at the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. On the road on Tuesday, the Shockers swept the University of Texas-El Paso Miners in three sets, (25-14), (25-22), (25-22).

Wichita State came out swinging taking an early lead 8-3 in the first set. The Miners would make two points to try and close the lead, 9-7 but a few defensive errors put the Shockers 18-9. 

UTEP would bounce back at the beginning of the second set, 10-7. The Shockers would continue to push through but would still be down 18-17. A crucial 5-0 run from the service line with sophomore Gabi Maas would take the Shockers on top, 22-18.

Sophomore Emerson Wilford would deliver three kills that would help Wichita State secure the set. Wilford led the Shockers with 11 kills and three blocks. 

By the third set, the Miners would not give up and played a tighter game. Wichita State took a point lead from a kill by junior Natalie Foster and would hold on to the lead the rest of the set. 

The last few points of the set gave room for an exciting conclusion of the tournament. UTEP was able to score three in a row to force a WSU timeout, 23-21. A kill from Wilford furthered the lead but the Miners would score a point to keep hope alive.

Yet it was junior Morgan Weber who had not attempted an attack all match and secured the last point to give Wichita State the win. 

Senior Izzi Strand had 29 assists and one service ace and was named the NIVC Most Valuable Player following the match. 

Redshirt junior Morgan Stout and Maas were named on the All-Tournament Team. 

 Throughout the season, the Shockers won 26 matches, the most since the 2017 season and ended the year with a six-win match streak.

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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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