Washburn bounces back and takes down Newman on Pink Night


photo by Jeremy Ford

Washburn huddles together after a point for Newman University in the third set. The Ichabods came together to win the final set 25-23.

On Oct. 22, the 18-5 Washburn Ichabods took on the 8-17 Newman Jets. The Ichabods came off of a tough match against the University of Central Oklahoma the night prior, losing in the fifth set. Lee Arena was filled with pink spectators for their annual Pink Night, and the Ichabods definitely put on a show for their excited fans.

The Jets scored the first two points of the game with a kill from Hannah Brisco and an attack error from senior middle-hitter Halle Mesiter. The Ichabods would only let Newman keep the early advantage for a quick second, as they would go on a 12-3 run using a mix of deadly kills and blocks before the Jets would be forced to call a timeout.

Newman made some adjustments and forced a side-out to steal 5 more points, but Washburn had no problem adapting and scored another 5 points before Newman could get the ball back. With an impressive 7 digs from senior libero Sydney Pullen and 8 assists from freshman setter Corinna McMullen, the Ichabods won the first set 25-12.

The second set started much similar to the first. Newman starting out scoring but Washburn didn’t let them jump out too far before taking the reins and racking in the points. Washburn proceeded to control the court, and scored 13 unanswered points in a valiant display of talent for the Ichabods. Jalyn Stevenson continued to keep the train rolling, sending serve after perfect serve over the net.

After a kill from Newman’s Riley Daughtery, the Jets started to work their way back up until some miscommunication caused the ball to fall straight to the floor, losing a point for Newman.. Washburn could only squeeze out a few more points before Newman would take over and build back up. Once again, the Jets squashed all of their momentum with some miscommunication and a short serve. The final point came from a Newman attacking error, allowing Washburn to win 25-16 and move on to the third set. Washburn recorded a total of 16 kills in the second set, which was the most kills in a set on the night for both teams.

The third set started a little differently from the prior two, with both teams putting up a fight for every point. The Jets were flying for the digs and the Ichabods were scrambling to keep up. After a long, well-played rally, Stevenson put it away with a hard kill, making the game tied at three. Both teams continued to battle, tying it up again at six with a series of kills from both teams. After a Newman attack error, Washburn began to slip away and extended their lead, but it didn’t take long for Newman to close the gap with two kills that the Ichabod’s couldn’t defend.

The teams began to duke it out point-for-point and ended up getting knotted at 12. Meister decided to take matters into her own hands and pounded the ball into the floor loud enough to send an echo throughout Lee Arena.

Senior middle-hitter Kassidy Pfieifer and freshman right side Kealy Kiviniemi also decided to pitch in, sending not just one but two Newman hits back into their faces. Washburn began pulling away again with a combination of kills and blocks, but Newman wasn’t gonna go down without a fight.

The Jets fought back and tied it up at 23, making this third set a whole lot more suspenseful. Daughetry spiked the ball out of bounds, giving Washburn the point and the possibility to win the game. Pullen served the ball over the net, and the Jets played it well to send a hard spike right into a wall of white. The Jets managed to gain control and send it back over, but Washburn was ready. Corinna McMullen sent a perfect pass up for Sophie McMullen to spike it into the opposing team’s court, winning the final set 25-23.

Head coach Chris Herron was pleased with how his team performed in comparison to their prior match.

“I thought we played really really well in that third set,” Herron said. “We played to win tonight, and last night we played to not lose.”

Corinna McMullen was also proud of how her team played.

“We had to bounce back from last night, and the first two sets were positive for us. Every team has adversity that they have to work through … but you have to learn,” Corinna McMullen said.

She also mentioned how Herron’s advice helped the team get back into the groove of things.

“Our big motto is ‘instead of playing to win, we played not to lose last night.’ We had some great athletes out here, so we had to play to win,” Corinna McMullen said.

Washburn volleyball hopes to get back on a winning streak as they play Pittsburg State University at 6 p.m., Oct. 26. Washburn has beaten them once already this season, so make sure to get out to Lee Arena to see Washburn take on the mighty Gorillas of Pitt State.

Edited by Glorianna Noland, Justin Shepard