Foster, Shockers Bludgeon Northern Colorado

GREELEY, Colo. — Natalie Foster put away 14 kills on a .706 hitting percentage, leading Wichita State to a 25-15, 19-25, 25-15, 25-16 win over Northern Colorado on Saturday night at Bank of Colorado Arena. The Shockers finished the invitational 3-0 to improve to 6-4 on the season.
The .706 hitting percentage is the second-best mark of Foster’s career and her best in a match longer than three sets.

Wichita State out-hit the Bears .331 to .135, pouring in 53 kills while committing just 13 errors. In addition to Foster’s 14 terminations, Morgan Stout was excellent out of the middle with 12 kills at a .360 clip. On the outside, Emerson Wilford chipped in nine kills and Sophia Rohling contributed eight. Setter Izzi Strand had her best attacking match in a Wichita State uniform, scoring six times on eight attempts to go along with 39 assists.

Stout was at her best in the opening frame, hammering home six kills on nine swings as part of a wire-to-wire win in which WSU hit .440 as a team. With the score level at 13-13 midway through the set, Shockers unleashed a devastating 10-0 run in which Stout either killed or blocked seven of the 10 points. Service aces from Morgan Weber and Gabi Maas put the finishing touches on a 25-15 win.

The Shockers dug themselves a sizable hole in the second set they could not climb out of. Northern Colorado (5-6) got three kills from three different players plus three aces from Cece Huhn, sprinting to a quick 8-2 lead that swelled to as much as 21-12. Wichita State did not go quietly, however, scoring six of the next seven points to trim the UNC lead to 22-18 and force a Bears timeout. WSU committed a pair of service errors down the stretch, allowing Northern Colorado to even the match at one set apiece.

Foster completely took over the final two sets, scoring an incredible 10 times on 11 swings. In the third she went 5-for-5, keying a crucial 6-0 run that extended the Wichita State lead from 17-13 to 23-13 and put the set out of reach. A hitting error two points later from Northern Colorado’s Brynn Reines gave the Shockers another 25-15 win and a 2-1 advantage.

It was more of the same in the fourth set, as WSU never trailed and surged to a 12-5 lead out of the gate. Despite two timeouts and a failed challenge, Northern Colorado never got closer than five points the rest of the way, as the Shockers committed just a single hitting error and got multiple kills from five different sources. Weber delivered a pair of service aces to key in the initial burst for the Shockers, who finished with six team aces to only six service errors.

Wichita State stays on the road for the beginning of American Athletic Conference play, heading to Greenville, North Carolina to battle East Carolina on Wednesday, September 20. First serve from Minges Coliseum is set for 5:00 pm CT.