Wichita State vs. No. 8 Creighton
Wichita State did not approach Friday night’s volleyball opponent differently, no matter what it’s ranking.
The Shockers shut down No. 8 Creighton 3-1 (25-20, 16-25, 25-19, 25-22) at Koch Arena, holding the Bluejays to a season-worst .166 attack percentage in front of 2,857 fans.
“It all comes down to believing in each other and believing in our abilities and our coaches’ abilities to coach,” senior outside hitter Mikaela Raudsepp said. “The game of volleyball should be played against the game of volleyball. Regardless of who’s on the other side of the net, it’s still volleyball.”
WSU, coming off consecutive losses last weekend in Oregon, was playing its first home match of the season in Koch Arena. Friday’s match was the first under the upgraded lighting in the arena, which allowed the lights to be lowered during pre-match introductions.
Once the switch was turned back on, so was the Shockers’ focus. Wichita State’s energy wore down the Bluejays, forcing them to hit .056 in the first set.
“We’re really grateful (the lighting improvements) happened this year,” junior outside hitter Brown said. “This is a really special season for us, especially for our seniors. For this game, we’re all ready pretty hyped up. Just being able to go out there and have the lights turned off and have all these spotlights on us, I think it was a nice little add-on to the game for sure.”
Raudsepp was moved back to the left side with Brown on Friday, leading the offensive charge by coming up with had 11 kills and hitting .296. Brown had 17 kills.
“I’ve seen this sort of thing before, a little wrinkle here, a little wrinkle there. Maybe you find something,” Lamb said. “(Brown and Raudsepp) need to be on the left for this program. As the match was going on, our left side swings were scoring and we almost couldn’t wait to get back to that lineup when that game ended because we had a feeling that would work out.”
Although Creighton fought back to win the second set off .381, the Shockers’ won the serve-and-pass game, something Lamb said was a reason for Creighton’s success against three ranked teams this season, including a sweep of Kansas last weekend in Lawrence. Wichita State fed off a 5-0 scoring run in the third set and finished scoring three straight points capped off by Brown to win 25-19.
The Bluejays fought back to tie the fourth set at 18 all, but kills from Abbie Lehman and Raudsepp swung the momentum to the Shockers. Brown collected her 16th and 17th kills to solidify the victory, making it her ninth match this season with double-digit kills.
“I have been watching hours and hours and hours of Creighton tape and all through their statistics, they have been dominant in the serve and pass game in the early going this year against very good teams,” Lamb said. “The fact that we held our own in the serve and pass, perhaps even grabbed the edge, that was gigantic for us tonight.”
Senior setter Emily Hiebert finished with 42 assists and 10 digs, and redshirt freshman Giorgia Civita came up with a game-high 29 digs in Wichita State’s first win over a ranked opponent this season. The Shockers (8-2) wrap up the non-conference schedule against No. 19 Iowa State at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Koch Arena.