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KWU Volleyball Splits on Saturday

KSAL Sports - September 23, 2013 5:59 am

The Kansas Wesleyan Volleyball team hosted a triangular event on Saturday with McPherson College and No. 15 ranked Bellevue University at Mabee Arena, the Coyotes were able to sweep McPherson 25-12, 25-20, 25-14 in the first match of the day, but despite hanging close with the Bellevue Bruins, the Coyotes were knocked off in straight sets 25-21, 25-20, 25-18.

“The last couple days our entire focus has been on McPherson. We are playing conference first and that’s all that really mattered,” Wesleyan head coach Fred Aubuchon said. “Although it would have been nice to come out and get a win against a quality Top 25 opponent like Bellevue, you have to keep your priorities in order and our priority is to win this conference.”

A slow start in the opening set against McPherson quickly turned in favor of the Coyotes as Wesleyan used a kill by Taylor Klover to tie things up at 5-all as KWU got things going as part of a 6-0 run to take a 10-5 lead. McPherson got back within three before the Coyotes exploded again, going on another 5-0 run to take a 15-8 lead. Wesleyan outscored the Bulldogs 10-4 the rest of the way capping the first set with a kill by Klover.

The Coyotes had to rally in the second set as they fell hing 13-9 at one point. Four straight points by Wesleyan sparked by a McPherson service error tied things up at 13-all on a McPherson error, but the Bulldogs would hold the lead until Maddie Lindstrom’s service ace would put the Coyotes ahead for good at 16-15. Allie Myers would serve an ace on set point as the Coyotes would win 25-20.

Wesleyan wasted little time in asserting control in the third set as the Coyotes jumped out to a 7-2 lead. Wesleyan’s lead hit double digits on a kill by Brittaney Miller and Lauren Chamness would close the match with a kill for the Coyotes.

Breanne Schultz led Wesleyan with 10 kills in the McPherson match, while Taylor Elkinton had 27 assists. Miller had 14 digs and Marlene Yang added 11 and the Coyotes had seven total blocks, led by Melissa Blair with five.

In the final match of the night, the Coyotes faced No. 15 ranked Bellevue, and despite hanging with the Bruins, the guests were able to come away with the victory.

“When you’re playing that kind of caliber of an opponent like Bellevue, you’re not going to go on big runs,” Aubuchon said. “You have to work your tail off just to get one point and hope for a sideout. Our serve receive was pretty good tonight, but they are a great serving team and they had us on their heels, and that’s where we made some mistakes and I thought we were a little too aggressive on our serve as well.”

Wesleyan opened the match scoring the first three points, but Bellevue answered back with three of its own to tie things up. The coyotes would maintain the lead until Bellevue would take its first advantage at 7-6. The Coyotes would lead again at 9-8 on a kill by Elkinton, but Bellevue had an answer scoring the next four points to take a 12-9 lead. The Coyotes answered back with a run of their own to take a 12-12 lead on a kill by Alexis Bateman, but again Bellevue would put together a run that saw them take the lead at 14-12 and hold on for the 25-21 first set win.

Bellevue opened the second set scoring the first three points, but the Coyotes would tie things up at 5-all on a Klover kill and would lead briefly at 7-6 and again at 10-9 before Bellevue would push out to a 14-11 lead. The Coyotes rallied several times but couldn’t get any closer than two points the rest of the way as the Bruins won the second set 25-20.

The Coyotes scored the first point of the third set, and would again hang with the Bruins, but Bellevue would go on several mini runs to hold onto its lead. The Coyotes were within a point after a block by Melissa Blair and Miller, but Bellevue scored the next four points to take a 15-10 lead. The Coyotes got within four at 21-17 but Bellevue would hold on for the win.

Lauren Chamness led the Coyotes with eight kills in the nightcap, while Miller had seven and two others had six each. Elkinton handed out another 27 assists, and three Coyotes reach double figures in digs led by Miller with 13. Blair had another six blocks for the Coyotes who ended the match with nine total team blocks.

The Coyotes have a huge week forthcoming as Wesleyan travels to co-conference leader Tabor on Wednesday and then hosts Friends for Homecoming on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Mabee Arena.

“This was a great match for us to have right before we play a team like Tabor,” Aubuchon said of the Bellevue match. “Now all of our focus is going to turn to Tabor and what we need to do to be successful against them. I think if we play like we did tonight against Bellevue against Tabor, we have a good chance to hang with them.”