Lady Blues, first place tie for MIAA

Kyle Kelly,

The Washburn Lady Blues volleyball team played host to the Lindenwood Lady Lions on Saturday night for the second to last match of the regular season. The Lady Blues came in with a 29-1 record and in a first place tie for the MIAA at 14-1. The Lady Lions came in with a 15-15 record and 5-11 in the MIAA.

The Lady Blues were able to sweep the Lady Lions in three sets, 25 to 19, 25 to 17 and 25 to 18. It wasn’t an easy sweep for the Blues, as the Lions were tough to put away. The win set the Lady Blues up for a one-game showdown with Nebraska-Kearney for the MIAA regular season championship.

 Hillary Hughes collected a double-double, as she was able to put up 12 kills and 11 digs. Hughes also added four aces. Marissa Cox was the other Lady Blue to be in double-digit kills, as she totaled 11 with two blocks. Jessica Fey and Jessica Kopp had eight kills apiece.

 “We struggled a lot in the beginning, but we kind of got going. Passes got better, we were able to get better hits and sets for our hitters,” said Hughes. “After the first game our coach kind of talked to us that we really needed to remember what’s coming tomorrow and that we need to play intense tomorrow night so we needed to start getting intense in this match. So that’s why we started to hit the ball better and started to perform better.”

 Sophomore setter, Gracie Peterson started the second and third sets and tallied 25 assists. The Lady Blues contributed their better hitting the second and third sets to crisper passing.

 Despite Lindenwood keeping it close in the second set, Washburn was able to go on a 12 to two run and was able to cap the set with a kill from freshman middle hitter, Rebecca Maasen.

 In the third set, the Lady Lions were able to hang around and not make it easy for the Lady Blues, but Washburn was able to close with a seven to two run with Jessica Kopp delivering the dagger to end the match.

 The Lady Blues were able to outhit the Lady Lions, .296 to .164. The Lady Blues also led in kills and digs, 49 to 34 and 47 to 41. However, the Lady Lions were able to lead Washburn in blocks, five to four.

“I thought defensively we played really well and after the score was 18 to 18 in game one, I thought we controlled the match from that point on,” said Chris Herron, head coach. “Overall, pretty shaky at first and then after that I was pretty happy with how we played.”

The Lady Blues victory coupled with the Nebraska-Kearney topping Central Missouri, sets up a winner take all final match of the season on Saturday night at Lee Arena between the No. 3 ranked Washburn Lady Blues and the No. 4 ranked Nebraska-Kearney Lopers.

“It is so important,” said Hughes. “It’s senior night, there’s a lot on the line, the conference and probably who hosts regionals as well. It’s just all-around a really big game for us.”