Wichita State’s Monday starters

Wichita State freshman attacker Shimen Fayad averaged 14 kills in her previous four matches.
Wichita State freshman attacker Shimen Fayad averaged 14 kills in her previous four matches. The Wichita Eagle

Highlights of the week ahead:

▪  Shockers softball holds its fall scrimmage series on Wednesday and Thursday, starting at 3 p.m. both days. Baseball’s 5-game fall series starts at 6 p.m. Thursday.

▪  It appears it’s time to consider taking Loyola (16-3, 5-1 MVC), seriously in the Missouri Valley Conference volleyball race. We will know for sure after this weekend. The Ramblers, tied with WSU in first place, take the dreaded Missouri State-Wichita State swing this weekend. Loyola won at Southern Illinois and swept defending MVC champion Illinois State, so it’s done well against solid Valley teams. Its non-conference schedule didn’t produce any notable wins — its best is over Seton Hall (No. 111 in the RPI). A split this weekend would keep Loyola in the picture.

WSU (14-6, 5-1) plays Bradley (5-13, 0-6) on Friday and Loyola on Saturday at Koch Arena.

▪  WSU cross country travels to Louisville on Saturday for the Pre-National meet. Indiana State, Bradley and Illinois State will also run, matching most of the teams picked to challenge for MVC titles.

Looking back:

▪  Juco guard Daishon Smith gave WSU’s men’s basketball team a non-binding commitment on Sunday. Given the WSU record on developing juco players, and specifically point guards, Smith looks like a buy-low guy who the Shockers are grabbing before he hits his peak. If his driving and dishing skills are as good as advertised, he appears to be a good fit with shooters on the roster in 2016-17.

▪  Wichita State freshman left Shimen Fayad had a strong weekend with 18 kills (.444 attack percentage) and three aces at Northern Iowa and 10 kills (.350) and two aces at Drake. It wasn’t too long ago the Shockers were searching for offense on the left. Fayad is solving that issue.

Monday’s reading recommendation

The Los Angeles Times details the drinking life of Southern Cal football coach Steve Sarkisian.