Washburn grabs win over Wingate in quarterfinal of National Championship

On Wednesday, November 28, the Ichabod Volleyball team took on the Wingate Bulldogs in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Div. II National Championship. This is the second trip to the National Championship for the volleyball team in school history. Washburn came away with the victory in a clean sweep in 3 sets. 

To begin the match, Wingate got off to a hot start, pushing the score to a 6-3 lead. The Ichabods were able to claw their way back to a tie after a kill  by sophomore hitter Genna Berg. The Ichabods and Bulldogs would trade points with one another until Washburn grabbed the lead 17-16 off of an attack error by Wingate. The Ichabods would never look back in the first set as they would defeat Wingate 25-21.

In the second set, the Ichabods kept riding their hot streak from the first set to grab a quick 2-0 lead. The Bulldogs would eventually jump ahead to a 4-3 lead. Both teams traded the lead multiple times. After the Ichabods were down 20-19, they ended the match on a 6-0 run to win the second set 25-20. 

In the third set, Wingate came out fired up with their season on the line. The Bulldogs would go out to an 8-4 lead before Washburn Head Coach Chris Herron called a time out. The Bulldogs would hold a consistent 4-point lead until the Ichabods regained their momentum and went on a 13-3 run to take a 21-15 lead. Erica Montgomery, junior outside hitter, Shayla Conner, senior setter, Kelsey Gordon freshman middle hitter, Makayla Maxwell, senior middle hitter and Berg all came through with huge kills for the Ichabods. The Ichabods would finish off the Bulldogs by winning 25-17. 

“I thought our left sides were really good tonight,” Herron said after the game. “Offensively, Shayla [Conner] was really good. We dug some balls and got in transition and we were able to beat them in the transition phase of the game. Our left sides did a really nice job swinging tonight.”

Even though the Ichabods were down against a challenging opponent in Wingate in the third set, the Ichabods found a way to come through and win it. For Berg, it was not about if they were going to get back in the set, it was about when they were going to get back in the set.

“Our slogan all year has been, ‘Better together,’ or, ‘Why not Us,’ so when we are down like that, we come together better as a group and we fight harder, “ Berg said.

Faith Rottinghaus, sophomore libero, added on to what Berg said.

“Really, something about this team is that when we are down, we are not really down,” Rottinghaus said. “We pull together, and we just play for each other, and we play for the people that come to support us. It really helps us get through these hard times.”

The Ichabods advance to the semifinal round tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. EST at the A. J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The match will be streamed live on the NCAA website.