Washburn takes a rough first loss to Northwest Missouri

Senior Sydney Pullen dives for the dig. Pullen lead the team in digs with 24.

Washburn University hosted the Northwest Missouri State’s Bearcats on Sept. 17 during family weekend and it was a rough game for the Ichabod volleyball team.

Washburn came into this game with confidence and enthusiasm, but they may not have been ready for the Bearcats.

Northwest Missouri started off the first set strong, scoring the first four points including two aces. That didn’t stop Washburn as they bounced back with four points of their own that also included two aces from junior defensive specialist Sophie McMullen. After both teams put their respective runs on the board, neither team could pull ahead. Northwest Missouri had it tied at seven, but then Austin Broadie passed it up to Jalyn Stevenson who pounded the ball into the court, giving the Ichabods the lead. Broadie came back two points later with back-to-back kills of her own, but the Bearcats fought hard and tied it up again at 10.

Both teams, once again, traded point after point until Washburn went on another four point run. Kealy Kiviniemi blocked a shot to cap off the run and make the score 16-14. Both teams fought tooth and nail to keep the lead, including two consecutive digs from libero Sydney Pullen but Washburn lost the point and the lead, tying the game at 20.
Soon after, fifth year seniorHalle Meister sent a heater over the net and tied the game again at 23. The first set ended in a battle with both teams coming close to winning, but it was an attacking error that caused Washburn to lose the first set 24-26. The first set was a close battle, but the same can’t be said for the second set.

The Bearcats came out swinging in the second set with an early eight to three before Washburn was forced to call a timeout. Washburn came back onto the court with fire and immediately put a point on the board with a kill from Stevenson. Two points later McMullen would add another point with a kill of her own, making the score five to nine in the Bearcats favor.

It started to look good for the Ichabods, but it all went downhill very quickly. Northwest Missouri State went on an eight point run including two blocks and three kills, extending their lead to 17-6. Washburn was down, but they weren’t out. Kristen Ford assisted Broadie with a well placed kill, and the tide began to change. Washburn went on a small run of their own, recording three consecutive kills to make the score 18-11, but it wasn’t enough. Northwest Missouri State kept the pressure and ended the first set with a score of 25-14.

Coach Herron was frustrated with his team’s second set performance. “We got rolled, I mean we just got beat up. We couldn’t pass, we couldn’t get anything done, and we couldn’t run our offense.” Fortunately for Coach Herron, the team played much better in the third set.

The Bearcats started strong just like they did in the first and second set, but Washburn was ready. They fought back hard and Stevenson placed a perfect dump shot over the net to make the score eight to seven.

The Ichabods continued to play well, never letting the Bearcats get too far ahead. Washburn eventually took the lead, and the momentum was in their favor. The Bods went on a 4 point run with an impressive block from Kiviniemi to put them on top 16-15, and Northwest Missouri State was forced into a timeout. The Bearcats tried to dig their way out, but it was no use. After a few long rallies and impressive shots from Washburn, they won the third set 25-21.

Once again, Northwest Missouri State started the set on a run, with 5 consecutive points. Washburn was playing well but the Bearcats were playing better.

The Ichabods fought hard and came within two of the Bearcats before losing the ball and going down 5-8. Washburn was playing from behind once again, and it may have been the deciding factor in this fourth set.

They played well and had some phenomenal plays, including a block from Meister. They also had a fantastic sequence of events with a tough dig from Pullen that helped set up Ella Waters put a dent in the opposing court, making it 19-20. Unfortunately, Washburn couldn’t overcome their opponents and Northwest Missouri State won the fourth set 25-22.
This was Washburn’s first loss of the season and Coach Herron says that he plans on working hard to fix their mistakes.

“We’re gonna watch a lot of film this week and figure out what individuals can do to do better.”

Although Herron was disappointed in the loss, he saw a lot of good things from his team.“In set three and four, I thought we played way better. We passed better, we served better, and we played better defense, it was just too late.”

Coach Herron has a lot for the team to work on and Halle Meister is ready to put in the work.

“I think I could have done better to produce a better outcome for the team. As a team, we’re going to have to focus on ourselves because we are lacking confidence in our abilities and our talent because we have so much potential on this team that we aren’t using it properly.”

The Ichabods took a rough first loss at home, but there is still plenty of time for the Ichabods to work on their game and show what they can do.

Washburn travels to the University of Central Oklahoma on Sept. 22 to play their next game and that will be an opportunity for the Ichabods to bring out that untapped potential.
Edited By: Simran Shrestha and LeSha’ Davis