Wichita State’s non-conference volleyball schedule got tougher as it progressed.
That produced a 7-0 start, followed by a two-match losing streak entering its first home matches. Those home matches are against No. 8 Creighton (7 p.m., Friday) and No. 19 Iowa State (2:30 p.m., Sunday) at Koch Arena.
WSU (7-2) can finish its non-conference schedule with a big win, or two, and attack American Athletic Conference confident in its resume. Or it can enter AAC play hoping that teams such as Marquette, Lipscomb and Miami (Ohio) perform well and stand up as quality wins when the NCAA selection committee meets to decide at-large bids.
According to RealTime RPI, Wichita State ranks No. 34, which is solid positioning for an at-large team, should that avenue into NCAA play be needed. But its best win is over No. 49 Lipscomb and the AAC schedule may not offer many chances for marquee wins. Tulane, at No. 44, is the only other American team in the top 50. Three American members — No. 70 Central Florida, No. 91 SMU and No. 97 Temple — are also in the top 100.
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The task at hand is Creighton (7-2), which owns wins over then-No. 3 (AVCA poll) Washington, then-No. 7 Kansas and then-No. 13 Kentucky.
Last season, the Shockers defeated Creighton 3-2 — after trailing 2-0 — to stop a six-match losing streak in the series. That streak started in 2011, when the teams met as Missouri Valley Conference opponents, and continued in non-conference matches in 2013 and 2014.
Iowa State (7-1) dropped a 3-2 decision at home to Northern Iowa on Tuesday. The Cyclones defeated WSU 3-0 last season in Ames.