Sam Sanders smashed a few kills during Mondays Wichita State volleyball practice, ratcheting up swings that make it appear her right shoulder is regaining its power.
Sanders, a junior right-side, is feeling healthier each day as she recovers from shoulder pain that has limited her time since early November. She played in two of the three matches in last weekends Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. WSU plays Arkansas on Friday in the NCAA Tournament in Lawrence.
I feel way better, she said. It felt fine on Friday and Saturday. I wasnt having any pain.
Coach Chris Lamb describes Sanders as playing at 70 percent. When healthy, Sanders is a powerful attacker and a critical part of WSUs offense. When she missed three matches earlier this month, WSU made several lineup changes to compensate. She averages 2.39 kills a set, second in the team, and her .246 attack percentage is tops among WSUs pin players.
Its nice to have her out there, Lamb said. Shes getting closer.
Sanders made her biggest contribution last weekend at the service line against Northern Iowa in the semifinal match. Her ability to serve short disrupted UNIs offense and helped the Shockers end a 10-match losing streak to the Panthers in a 3-1 victory.
She brought a lot of emotion to the Northern Iowa game, Lamb said. When we started to pull away from Northern was when Sam was back there putting service runs together.
Sanders said a swollen lymph node likely caused the shoulder pain. She was sick at the time the shoulder pain began.
Rest really helped it, she said. I feel back to normal. I feel confident.
On the mend WSU basketball player Ehimen Orukpe is wearing a walking boot on his right ankle after injuring it in Wednesdays win over Iowa in Cancun, Mexico.
While Orukpe, a senior center, is limping badly, he no longer needs crutches.
I feel a lot better, he said. In Cancun, I couldnt put any weight on it. Now I can actually put some weight on it.
Orukpe had X-rays on Tuesday and had not received a diagnosis. He said he does not believe the injury is serious. WSU plays Tulsa on Wednesday at Koch Arena and Orukpe said he is unsure if he will be able to play.
Early honored WSU junior Cleanthony Early earned MVC mens basketball newcomer of the week honors. Early, a 6-foot-8 forward from Middletown, N.Y., was named tournament MVP of the Cancun Challenge.
He averaged 16.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in wins over DePaul and Iowa.
Shockers move up WSUs 6-0 start is attracting national attention. The Shockers received 99 votes in Mondays Associated Press top 25 poll, up from 13 the previous week.
WSU is two spots from being ranked, behind No. 25 New Mexico (141 votes) and Alabama (108). Fourteen unbeaten teams are in the top 25.
WSU received 16 votes in the coaches poll administered by USA Today.
Womens class in top 50 Blue Star Basketball ranks WSUs womens basketball recruiting class No. 47 in the nation.
WSU signed six freshmen and transfer guard Jamillah Bonner from Butler Community College during the November signing period. The Shockers are the lone MVC program in the top 50.
WSU also signed guard Jaleesa Chapel of Dekaney (Texas) High, forward Moriah Dapprich of Branson, Mo., forward Briana Jones of James Madison (Texas) High, center Morgan Landers of Burleson, Texas, guard Marissa Preston of Staley (Mo.) High and guard Kayla White of East Central (Texas) High.
Shockers sign South African golfer Shayne Allan signed a letter of intent with WSUs mens golf team.
Allan joins Grant Bennett of Prosper, Texas, in WSUs fall class. Allan won the South African under-18 match play championship and the Dale Hays Junior under-18 Classic.