LAWRENCE — A second straight upset of Kansas in the NCAA volleyball tournament wasn’t in the cards for Wichita State.
A year after beating KU in the second round for the Shockers’ first Sweet 16 berth, WSU was knocked out in four sets for a quick exit in its seventh consecutive NCAA trip. KU won 25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22 to end WSU’s season at 28-7.
“I’m obviously disappointed that our season has come to an end and the career of four of the most special athletes that our program has ever had just played their final match,” WSU coach Chris Lamb said. “I was in the locker room a few minutes ago choosing to make this more about them and the program then about this match.”
Seniors Elizabeth Field, Chelsey Feekin, Sam Sanders and Ashley Andrade were all spectacular in their final match in Wichita State uniforms.
Andrade recorded a team-best 16 kills, while Sanders and Field added 13 and 11. Feekin, a setter, recorded 44 assists and nine kills.
The Shockers fell behind in nearly every set, but rallied to keep each set close. In all three of KU’s set victories, the Jayhawks closed the door with convincing runs.
“It’s really frustrating because you work so hard through the whole match and it’s like the end just slips away,” Feekin said. “But we let it slip away and can only blame ourselves. I think we worked really hard and we gave it all we could. I know we’re not happy with the turnout, but we’re happy with our season.”
Kansas, which advanced to the second round for the third time in its four overall NCAA Tournament appearances, was led by Chelsea Albers, who recorded a career-high 17 kills. Her final spike was the match winner.
Tied at 19 in the fourth and final set, KU scored four straight points, which included three errors by Wichita State. KU then held match point, leading 24-20 before WSU’s Andrade recorded a kill and a block to pull the Shockers within 24-22 before Albers made the night’s final play.
“I thought that was a really high-level match, two teams playing extremely well,” said KU coach Ray Bechard. “We played well in the second set. True to character, Wichita State did not go away and we finally got in front of Andrade a little bit in the fourth set late and made some winning plays.”
Kansas will play Creighton, a 3-1 victor against Arkansas, on Saturday with the winner advancing to the round of 16 in Los Angeles next week.