It was obvious Friday that Wichita States Sam Sanders and Ashley Andrade have spent five years together on the Shocker volleyball team, but coach Chris Lamb wishes they could stick around for longer.
Theyre dialed in, and they want it, and theyre going to go hard, Lamb said of the seniors. I think once they do get it going, you see them getting better throughout the match. Ive been with these girls for a long time; its just a lot of fun to see them right now be the best volleyball players theyve ever been. You wish you could coach them for 10 years, imagine what they might look like then.
The two combined for nine of the teams 14 block assists against South Dakota, and carried the two highest hitting percentages Sanders .611 and Andrade .556 to help the Shockers to a 3-0 victory (25-22, 25-14 and 26-24) over the Coyotes in the second day of the Shocker Classic at Koch Arena.
Weve been here for five years now, and we out of the seniors have been really close since Day 1, Sanders said. We know weve got to get the job done, and we know how to get our team excited.
No. 7 Hawaii stayed unbeaten through two matches of the tournament, giving up two sets to No. 23 Creighton before winning the fifth set and setting up a meeting with the Shockers on Saturday night. Hawaii won 25-17, 25-16, 19-25, 20-25, 15-9.
For WSU, Andrade started off the first set with four kills and a .667 hitting percentage, while Sanders added four more kills in the second set. But the third set showed the pairs influence on the teams attitude the most.
In a quick 8-2 WSU lead, Sanders and Andrade combined for five points. After a South Dakota comeback late in the set, it was Andrade who ended a two-point South Dakota run for a 23-21 lead, and Sanders who ended the next two-point run for a 24-23 lead. Ashlyn Driskill had a kill to put the Shockers up 25-24, and an error from South Dakotas Kendall Kritenbrink finished off the third set.
We talk about it on the sidelines when were together saying, Whoever goes in first youve got to do this, or this, to get everybody going, get the tempo to go back up to play our speed, because once we start playing the other teams speed we start falling apart, Andrade said. Its just one of those things that once we go back on the court its go time again, weve got to pull everybody back together.
After a slow start to the season for WSUs outside hitters, Sanders started a chain reaction of scoring big points after the teams trip to Utah. Ashlyn Driskill followed last week in Tennessee, and Katie Reilly finally showed her best at hitting on Friday night, according to Lamb.
Reilly finished with 11 kills, a .375 hitting percentage, and three service aces.
I feel like our outside hitters were struggling early in the season, Lamb said. Tonight was the first night that Katie Reilly kind of broke out and had a good performance. It was nice to see on a night Elizabeth Field wasnt connecting with Chelsey Feekin, a lot of people really brought a nice effort.