Blues best Bearcats

Josh Rouse / Washburn Review

The past few days have been a high-octane ride for the Lady Blues volleyball team.

After going 4-0 this weekend at the Triton Classic in St. Louis, Mo., having junior rightside hitter Breanna Lewis named the MVP of the tournament and moving up in the polls Monday to become the No. 3-ranked Division II volleyball team in the nation, the Blues (9-0) went on to defeat Northwest Missouri State (4-5) last night 3-0 in Lee Arena.

Led by sophomore hitter Jessica Fey’s 11 kills, 16 digs by senior libero/defensive specialist Molly Smith and 36 assists by junior setter Amanda Guess, the Blues quickly disposed of the Bearcats, winning by scores of 25-12, 25-17 and 25-13.

“It’s been so long since we’ve played at home I forgot what it’s like,” said Chris Herron, head volleyball coach. “We want people to come out and get rowdy, get loud and obnoxious. We’ve been looking forward to playing at home because we only play at home twice in the entire month.”

At the Triton Classic, the Blues saw similar success, beginning on Friday with a 3-1 victory against Arkansas-Fort Smith and a 3-0 victory against Harding University. In the first game, Lewis’ 15 kills were second only to freshman outside hitter Aubri Renshaw’s 17, a career high. Guess set a career high with 45 asssists, and Smith had 12 digs. The Blues won the first two sets 25-21 and 25-11 before dropping the third set 25-20, the only set Washburn would lose the entire tournament and only the second lost set of the season. The Blues finished strong with a 25-21 score in the fourth set to end the game.

Against Harding, Smith recorded 17 digs and the Blues won in three sets (25-18, 25-20, 25-15). Lewis was again in double figures with 10 kills in 17 attempts, Guess had 25 assists and redshirt freshman setter Abby Wittman chipped in 14 more assists on 26 attempts, with one error.

“For the most part our ball control was pretty good, which if our ball control is good that means 99 percent of the time we’re going to be pretty good,” said Herron. “We have a lot of weapons, so to me it’s all about ball control.”

On Saturday, the Lady Blues took on the Screaming Eagles of Southern Indiana, winning in three sets (25-15, 25-13 and 26-24). Fey had a remarkable day, becoming only the fourth Washburn player to record 10 blocks in a three set match. Lewis added five blocks of her own and had eight kills. Junior hitter Mollie Lacy had 10 kills with two errors, and Smith had 14 digs.

Washburn finished up Saturday with a 3-0 win against Illinois-Springfield (25-13, 25-12, 25-18) that took only 57 minutes to complete. Wittman had a career-high 31 assists and freshman libero Courtney Churchman had a career-high 12 digs. Sophomore hitter Jessica Kopp led the Blues with 13 kills, and senior middle hitter Kelci Wigger added nine.

“The passing alignment scheme needs to be improved,” said Herron, who also said he was implementing a new way to do that in Monday’s practice.

The Lady Blues will hit the road this weekend, traveling Friday to Kirksville, Mo., to take on No. 16 Truman State at 7 p.m. and Saturday to St. Joseph, Mo., to take on Missouri Western at noon. The Blues then return home next Tuesday for a 7 p.m. showdown with the University of Nebraska-Omaha.