Most seasons, Wichita State's Drake-Creighton volleyball weekend is all about Creighton.
Not this time. Drake came into Koch Arena on a seven-match win streak and in fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference.
"We were equally focused on both teams," WSU senior Katie Niggemeyer said. "There were a lot of factors about the Drake game that were important for us to take into consideration."
The Shockers played as if Drake earned their full attention Friday. They swept the Bulldogs 25-9, 25-21, 25-12 to win their third straight match.
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WSU (17-4, 8-3 MVC) held Drake to a .060 attack percentage and recorded 64 digs, 23 more than the Bulldogs. Six service aces (and no errors in the first two sets) highlighted a serving game that kept the Bulldogs off balance. Drake (18-8, 7-5) didn't have an ace.
"Holding them to 25 kills on 117 swings... that's a big-time number against a team that distributes the ball and runs a fast offense," WSU coach Chris Lamb said. "That was a dominant serve-and-passing victory — that part of the game was clearly ours throughout."
WSU's defensive performance continued a trend Lamb loves. Its last three opponents left the gym with hitting percentages of .060, .109 and .060. Lamb eased up on defense in practice earlier this season to rest a tired team and to work on offense. For the past week, Lamb returned to tougher defensive drills and he likes the results.
"It gives you your defensive edge back," he said. "I feel since we've been back at that routine we've been way more reactive in the back row. A big part of it is cutting loose in practice."
Libero Melissa Granville led WSU with 19 digs. Emily Stockman added 13 and Sarah Waldorf had 12.
"We're getting rangier," Granville said.
WSU's offense overpowered the Bulldogs. Stockman led the team with 13 kills. Niggemeyer tied her season high with 11 and she hit .611. The Shockers hit .324, their best effort in nine matches. Setter Mary Elizabeth Hooper handed out 38 assists to go with four kills.
"Hooper's sets were beautiful," Niggemeyer said. "I kept it behind the setter most of the time, and they gave me some nice holes. We were able to use that to our advantage."