Kelly and Foster Team Up to Tame Tigers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Wichita State got 16 kills apiece from Brylee Kelly and Natalie Foster to overcome Memphis 25-19, 25-22, 19-25, 25-18 at the Larry O. Finch Center in Memphis.

Foster matched a season high with her 16 putaways, doing so on just 28 swings, while Kelly did most of her damage late. The redshirt sophomore outside hitter picked up six kills and two solo blocks in the decisive fourth set, including a stretch of three straight points that gave the Shockers (8-6, 2-3) a commanding 22-16 lead they would not relinquish.

Thanks to 47 assists from Kayce Litzau, the Shockers offense was clicking to the tune of a .240 hitting percentage, getting ten kills from Morgan Weber and seven from Sophie Childs to aid the cause.

WSU had to rally in the first set, as Memphis banged out seven straight points early to grab their first lead. But the Shockers chipped away, eventually putting together a six-point run of their own to grab a 13-10 advantage. Memphis (8-9, 1-4) drew even three times down the stretch but never retook the lead, as a Weber kill and two Tiger attack errors gave the Shockers the opening set win.

In the second set it was WSU with the early initiative, as the Shockers held a seemingly comfortable 16-11 lead before Memphis battled back to within 19-18 on the back of three kills from Miaya Smith, who finished with a team-high 15 for the match. But the Shocker block responded, recording three straight rejections for a 22-18 lead that eventually turned into a 25-22 win.

Memphis stole the third set with a big run in the middle stages, turning a 7-6 WSU lead into a 13-8 Tigers advantage. The Shockers fought to within 18-16 on a kill from Foster that prompted a Memphis timeout, but the Tigers found four straight points to get across the finish line and force a fourth set.

The Shocker offense found another gear in the fourth set, hitting a match-best .351 as a team with 16 kills and only three errors. Kelly’s play turned the momentum in favor of the visitors, as Memphis had sliced the lead to 14-13 after a Lexi Lewis kill. Wichita State took four of the next five points to regain control, and Kelly and Foster combined for three kills down the stretch to end it.

Lily Liekweg paced the Shockers defensively with 14 digs, while Weber notched ten of her own to post a double-double.

Wichita State concludes the short road swing with a Sunday matinee at SMU. First serve of Sunday’s match is scheduled for 12:00 PM and can be streamed live on ESPN+.