Washburn volleyball suffers first defeat of the season

The ninth ranked Washburn Ichabod volleyball team returned home for the first time in nearly a month to play a pair of games on Homecoming weekend. Friday night they defeated Missouri Western, but suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday in a 3-0 defeat to Northwest Missouri State.

Friday vs Missouri Western:

Set one was all Ichabod’s as they scored in bunches with 4-0 and 5-0 runs to lead early 12-4. The domination continued as the Griffons only managed 5 more points the rest of the set leading to a 25-9 first set win. It was the first time all season the Bods had held an opponent to less than 10 in a set.

The second set was much closer with Washburn holding an early 7-5 lead. They then hit a quick 3-0 run to stretch the lead before trading a handful of points and expanding the lead to 13-8. Missouri Western did not go away as easily as they clawed back to the set at 19. Washburn then took control to finish out the set 25-22.

Up two sets to zero the Bods were unable to put the match away in the third as they played a back and forth set with extra points being needed to decide the outcome as Missouri Western stayed alive winning 30-28.

 After three early ties, the Ichabod’s would assume a lead that they would never relinquish as they were able to keep the Griffons at an arm’s length away and finished off the win with a 25-20 fourth set win to win the match 3-1 and improve their record start to 22-0.

Saturday vs Northwest Missouri:

Washburn led early on in set number one holding an 11-8 lead. The Bearcats then exploded on a 4-1 run to tie the match at 12. Northwest proceeded to overtake the lead with a 3-1 run that forced a Washburn timeout trailing 15-13. Coming out of the timeout, the Ichabod’s fought back to tie the game at 16, but that was as close as they could get as the Bearcats opened a five-point advantage, 23-18, before finishing off the first set with 25-20 final.

No team led by more than one in the second set until Washburn was able to gain an 8-6 advantage which led to a little separation when they led by three at 10-7. Northwest would immediately fire back with three straight to tie the match at 10. Trailing 14-12, Washburn was forced to call a timeout, but they were unable to seize any momentum out of that timeout. The Bearcats proceeded to take four of the next five points and opened a sizeable lead at 18-13. The large lead late in the set made a comeback difficult, but the Ichabod’s did not concede. They battled to get the score back to one twice late in the set but were unable to get over the hump as they dropped set two, 25-23.

Lee Arena got loud in the third set as Washburn was fighting to stay in the match and Northwest was looking for the upset sweep. Outside of the early 3-0 Bearcat lead the set remained neck and neck with no one leading by more than one until Northwest gained a 20-18 advantage which forced a Washburn timeout. Northwest finished the match on a 5-2 run to pull the upset and hand the Bods their first loss of the season.

A major difference maker late in the third set was the serving of the Bearcats as they came up with clutch aces which is something sophomore Faith Rottinghaus mentioned afterwards.

“Their serving was better than anything we have seen all year and we just did not have the right mindset going into this game”, Rottinghaus said.

Senior Makayla Maxwell is ready to help her team learn from this game and get back into a groove.

“The good thing about being a senior is that you’ve seen a lot of different situations in your four or five years here, so that being said, you’ve seen a lot of adversity, and it will be crucial to help the team adapt to the challenge ahead of us, learn from our mistakes, go back out, pick our heads up and keep it rolling,” said Maxwell.

The Ichabod’s will be back in action on Friday and Saturday against Fort Hays State and Nebraska-Kearney with both games being on the road.