Coyotes dominate Central Christian in regular season home finale

Dustin Sahlmann is pleased with the progress his young Kansas Wesleyan men’s volleyball program has made in its second season of existence and justifiably so.


The Coyotes’ 3-0 victory (25-11, 25-15, 25-15) over Central Christian on Thursday night inside Mabee Arena raised their record to 10-17 – significant improvement from a year ago when they won just twice, both against Central Christian, during their inaugural season. They’re also 4-6 in Great Plains Athletic Conference play.


“We’re definitely doing things better now than we did in the fall or that we did into January, the beginning of February,” Sahlmann said. “We’ve doubled our conference wins from last year, we’re sitting at double digit wins for the season so yes I’m really happy with that.”


Salhmann, though, is far from satisfied.


“I want to be working on cleaning up things versus working on making sure we’re mentally focused this time of year,” he said. “The season’s a grind so I hope they can stay focused and continue to understand that we still have things we need to work on so we can get to where we want to at the end of the season.”


The victory was the fourth over Central Christian (1-21) this season but was the match was crucial nonetheless. By virtue of winning KWU will play Ottawa on March 25 in Mabee Arena in the first round of the GPAC Tournament.


“It’s hard to get up for the match when you’ve played that team four times but we did what we needed to do to get that home playoff match,” Sahlmann said.


Indeed, KWU did what it needed to – repeatedly.


The Coyotes hit at a .359 percentage and featured a balanced attack led by Andy Tran (FR/San Jose, Calif.)’s 10 kills, limited Central Christian to a .062 hitting percentage and had 11 service aces. Justin Burras (FR/Burbank, Calif.) added eight kills, Viet Nguyen (SO/Wichita, Kan.) seven and Colin Lindo (JR/Las Vegas, Nev.) six. Marcus Taylor had 23 assists while Jeremy Lapeze (FR/Burbank, Calif.) led the defense with 12 digs.


Leading by four early in the opening set KWU pulled away with a 14-1 run that gave them a 24-7 lead.


The second set was tied 10-10 before the Coyotes pulled away by scoring 13 of the next 16 points.


Wesleyan trailed 8-7 in the third set but an 8-1 surge made it 15-9. Clinging to an 18-14 advantage the Coyotes closed out the set and match with a 7-1 burst.


The Coyotes conclude the regular season with a match against Missouri Valley next Wednesday in Marshall, Mo. KWU lost to the Vikings 3-1 February 1 in Mabee Arena.


“If felt like at the time that was one of the best matches that we’d played for an extended period of time,” Sahlmann said. “We’ve got something on line there too – we get that win it puts us at 11 and the team wanted to be at 12 wins at the end of the season. So yeah, we’ve still got stuff to play for.”


KWU and Ottawa split during the regular-season, the Coyotes winning 3-1 February 3 in Mabee Arena and Ottawa 3-0 March 4 in Ottawa.


“They’ve got a 6-foot-6 Polish hitter that’s finally eligible so when we went to their place we saw something a little different from them,” Sahlmann said. “We’ve got some things to work on to be ready.”