Washburn sweeps #19 Harding to stay undefeated

Excitement: Players express their excitement in a huddle after a score against Harding on Sept. 3.

After a 3-1 victory earlier in the day over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Washburn Volleyball was back in action on Sept. 3 as part of the Washburn Invitational. The match will be a battle of teams ranked inside the top 25 of the AVCA poll with the Ichabods at #8 and the Bison at #19. While Harding lost its first match of the season, Washburn was looking to stay perfect at 3-0 on the year.

The first set began as a true back and forth affair, with neither team able to go ahead by more than a point until the Bison got back-to-back kills to take a 12-9 lead and force a timeout by the Ichabods.

Washburn battled back, with each point coming hard-earned to take a 16-15 lead, but would only control it for one point before Harding would tie and take the lead again. They would remain ahead until the Ichabods tallied two kills in a row to tie the set at 22. The teams traded points before Washburn forced an attacking error on the Bison before a service ace by senior setter Allison Sadler would win the set for the Ichabods. Senior setter Payton Nutter recorded seven assists for Washburn while senior libero, Faith Rottinghaus, notched seven digs.

“That’s what turned that match in our way, when we were down 22-20 and we come back and win that, that’s what tiled it our way,” said Chris Herron, Washburn’s head coach.

In the second set, the Ichabods continued the momentum from the first to take an 8-4 lead early on. Harding would draw closer but was unable to breakthrough in the middle stages of the set. The Bison were able to keep the set close but Washburn limited its errors and held the lead before a service error gave them a 25-21 victory in set two. Senior middle hitter, Allison Maxwell, led the way in the second set with six kills, while Nutter added another seven assists.

The third set resembled the first with neither side giving an inch, through fourteen points the set was tied at seven all. The runs began after that, first with Harding taking three points in a row before the Ichabods took the following four. The middle of the set was dominated by Maxwell for Washburn, as she scored four of five points all from kills in a run that gave them a 16-13 advantage. As the set drew to a close, the Ichabods got sharper as they would take the final four points and leave with a 25-18 victory in the third set. Leading the way for the day in assists was Sadler who finished with a season-high 26 and freshman Jalyn Stevenson finished with a career-high seven kills in the match.

“It feels great, it’s really special to be (out here) since I am four or five years younger than every person out here, it feels really great to be able to work along with them,” said Stevenson after her career day.

Up next for Washburn is their second game of day two at the Washburn Invitational against #15, Northern State University.