Chris Lamb’s plans for Wichita State volleyball are always changing, usually because that’s his coaching style.
After last weekend, injuries are forcing the Shockers to change. Sophomore Regan Peare, who had begun to move from setter to the right-side, is out for the season with a left knee injury. Right-side Jody Larson is slowed by a sprained left ankle which kept her out of WSU’s previous match. She practiced on Wednesday after sitting out Tuesday.
On Friday, WSU (7-4) opens Missouri Valley Conference play at Missouri State (9-5).
“Jody’s mobile,” Lamb said. “I’m medium, room temperature (on her availablity for Friday).”
Larson’s health affects the Shockers in several ways. She plays six rotations — a skill WSU is thin at after a season-ending knee injury to Jenny Whitledge in August — and leads the team with 116 kills and an average of 3.52 a set. Her 97 digs rank third on the team and her 21 blocks second. In addition, she can set, which is a position weakened by Peare’s injury. With Peare out, redshirt freshman Jordan Roberts, who has played in two sets this season, is WSU’s backup setter.
Peare replaced Larson in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to host Texas-San Antonio and played in two sets before the injury. She played in both of Friday’s matches as Lamb began to use her as an attacker.
“We were sort of on fumes with duct tape and bailing wire, trying to put a lineup together on the fly,” Lamb said. “I was proud of the coaching staff for putting something together. We had a nice plan and found ourselves in a fifth game against a very good team.”
The schedule helps WSU because the Shockers are off Saturday and play 4-9 Evansville on Monday at Koch Arena.
Missouri State is also coming off a busy week. The Bears won at Arkansas State on Tuesday before playing three matches at Marquette over the weekend. They defeated Milwaukee before losing to Iowa State and Marquette.
“This will be the first time we’ve had two practices back-to-back in three weeks,” MSU coach Melissa Stokes said. “We have to rest some players who need it and get back to practice.”
The Bears own wins over then-No. 14 Illinois and then-No. 12 Ohio State.
Junior left Lily Johnson, the 2015 MVC Player of the Year, leads the Valley with an average of 4.15 kills a set.
“You’ve got two of the very best players at their position in the conference in (middle) Lynsey Wright and Lily Johnson,” Lamb said. “You’ve got two Big Ten wins already.”