The No. 4 ranked Lady Blues jumped out to a two sets to none lead and then held off No. 15 Emporia State 3-2 (25-20, 25-18, 22-25, 19-25, 15-11) on Friday night at Lee Arena. Washburn will be back in action on Tuesday night at Northwest Missouri State at 7 p.m.
The opening set had eight ties and two lead changes before Washburn (21-1, 9-1 MIAA) grabbed control with a 4-0 run to go up 18-17. After ESU (16-4, 7-2 MIAA) tied the score the Lady Blues rattled off five straight points and then closed out the set 25-20.
Washburn grabbed control early in set two with a 5-0 run to go up 10-5. The Lady Blues extended their lead to as many as seven before closing out the set 25-18. WU held an early 9-7 lead in set three as they looked for the sweep, but the Hornets responded with a 9-2 run to snatch the lead. Washburn closed to within one at 23-22, but couldn’t get over the hump as ESU tallied two straight points to stay alive.
Emporia State took control early in set four and held off a Lady Blues rally to force the fifth and deciding set. Washburn jumped out to an early lead in set five and never looked back. The Lady Blues got ahead 7-2 and closed out the match at 15-11 on a kill by Breanna Lewis.
Lewis led Washburn with a career-high 23 kills as she hit .409. Aubri Renshaw recorded her third double-double of the season with 15 kills and a career-high 17 digs. Hillary Hughesnotched her fourth double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs. Amanda Guess dished out 36 assists and had 10 digs for her eighth double-double, while Abby Wittman tied a career-high with 31 assists marking the first time in school history that two players had 30 or more assists in the same game.
Molly Smith was everywhere for the Lady Blues defense as she moved closer to the MIAA’s top 10 for career digs with a season and match-high 35. She is now 37 digs shy of 10th place on the conference’s all-time list.
Brittney Miller led Emporia State with 18 kills, while Ting Liu had a match-high 49 assists. Jordan Lockwood and Paige Vanderpool had nine kills apiece for the Hornets, while Meg Schwartz led four Hornets in double figures with 21 digs. Lockwood had 17, Jocelyn DeMotte 16 and Vanderpool chipped in 13.