Wichita State volleyball coach Chris Lamb can’t help but tinker – anything to fix what he perceives as a problem — to make the Shockers’ defense better.
And a lot of the time, it equals wins.
“We’re used to it, so we’ve learned to adapt,” Wichita State’s Sam Sanders said. “We adapt to the changes and go.”
Lamb’s shift in strategy – and an extra day off this week – paid off for the Shockers with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-11) sweep of Bradley on Friday night at Koch Arena in front of 3,302 fans.
The win improved the Shockers to 18-4 and 7-1 Missouri Valley Conference play, and WSU moved back into a tie for first place in the MVC with Illinois State, which lost at Northern Iowa on Friday night.
Wichita State hosts Loyola on Saturday.
Lamb’s defensive shift helped stop Bradley’s top offensive weapon, senior middle blocker Amy Angelos, who was held to five kills on 23 attempts.
“We came out playing defense the last two years with pretty experienced wings, which we didn’t have going into this season, so we kind of abandoned what we’d been doing and went to a simple read,” Lamb said. “Then we played things straight up … then as I got more information on our opponents I kind of went crazy and we’re fancy again.
“Then I don’t know if that was better, so we went back to simple, which was the fourth change.”
Whatever he did seemed to work – Wichita State won its third straight match and second of five straight at home following Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Louisville.
Lamb gave the players off Wednesday, earning a pat on the back from senior setter Chelsey Feekin, who led WSU with 35 assists and was second with 14 digs behind Dani Mostrom‘s 16.
“Nice guy,” Feekin said, smiling.
“I’m looking for days off,” Lamb said. “Anything to get them some rest with this big stretch late in the season.”
Bradley (10-7, 4-3) rallied to tie the score at 12-12 in the first set, but WSU steadied itself and finished things off with a kill from Sanders.
Sophomore outside hitter and Valley Center native Ashlyn Driskill came alive for the Shockers in the second set with five kills in a set that WSU never trailed. The Shockers went up 23-8 in the final set before putting a quick end to the sweep.
Sanders led WSU with 11 kills and three blocks. Ashley Andrade and Driskill finished with 10 kills each. Driskill’s offensive outburst came on 24 swings and was her fifth double-digit kill performance in the last month.
Jessie Tulacka led Bradley with 11 kills.
“That’s our budding superstar outside hitter, so it’s great for her to get comfortable again,” Lamb said, referring to Driskill. “It was a nice all-around performance on both sides. Our game plan evolved and it got executed.”