No. 7 Washburn disposes of No. 12 Pittsburg State, Missouri Southern

No. 7 Washburn disposes of No. 12 Pittsburg State, Missouri Southern

When the Washburn volleyball team wins point number 29, the home crowd stands and claps for the game-deciding serve. Forgive the fans for not standing after the Lady Blues scored their 14th point in game five against Pittsburg State.

After all, it is easy to forget the fifth game only goes to 15 points when the Lady Blues have not played beyond game four all season long. Every match Washburn has played this year has been decided in either three or four games, meaning a fifth game, which is half as long, is unnecessary.

The good news is that the Lady Blues (18-1, 3-0 MIAA) have won all but one of those shortened matches. The better news is that they are now undefeated in matches that do extend to five games. In a battle between two highly ranked MIAA teams, No. 7 Washburn prevailed over the No. 12 Gorillas 3-2.

For the first time all season, the Lady Blues lost two games, falling 22-30 in game one and 23-30 in game three. Washburn could not come back from a 5-0 deficit in the first game, and game three was too far out of reach after Washburn fell behind 19-26. But any team in the middle of a 13-match winning streak has a mentality that it is not going to lose without a fight.

“We came together when we were down, and we had a lot of confidence,” said freshman Molly Smith. “We’re gelling together, and that helps us in every game.”

Although the Lady Blues lost a couple games, their performance as a team was one of the best they have had all year. Game two was the most uneven of the night and was won by Washburn 30-18. The team went on to win the final two games 30-25 and 15-12.

“We had five kids in double figures kills, so we spread the wealth around and spread the ball around to keep their team guessing what we were going to do,” said head coach Chris Herron.

Sophomore Kate Hampson was responsible for setting up many of the Lady Blues’ kills with a career-high 66 assists. Junior Monica Meisner’s 19 digs were enough to make her the 16th member of Washburn’s 1,000 dig club.

Wins against highly ranked teams like PSU (15-2, 2-1) are important in more ways than one because both teams hold lofty positions in the conference and regional standings.

“It’s a huge conference win, and it even has national implications,” said Herron.

After the close win against the Gorillas, the Lady Blues went back to their typical dominant winning ways with a 3-0 sweep against Missouri Southern (10-8, 1-4) on Saturday. Washburn won the three games by a score of 30-19, 30-19, 30-25. Meisner moved up to second on Washburn’s all time double-double list by adding 13 kills and 12 digs to her career totals.

Fans who cannot wait to see Emporia State get canned by Washburn on the football field can watch the rivals’ volleyball teams square off 7 p.m. Wednesday in Lee Arena. The Lady Blues will then finish off a four game conference home stand 1 p.m. Saturday against Northwest Missouri State. The unranked Hornets and Bearcats may not provide the same level of competition as PSU did, but the Lady Blues know that surviving a tough MIAA test will help as they enter an important rivalry match.

“It was a big win against a good team,” said Smith. “We played our hearts and souls out.”