KW volleyball continues hot start to season knocking off Friends in four sets

WICHITA – Kansas Wesleyan Volleyball improved to 4-0 on the season as the Coyotes beat the Friends Falcons in four sets – 23-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-19 – in a non-conference match-up inside the Garvey Center.

The 4-0 start is the best start to a season for the Coyotes since at least 2001 when rally scoring began in collegiate volleyball.

Wesleyan led 6-4 in the opening set before a 5-0 Friends run put the Falcons in front 9-6. The Falcons extended their lead to 14-10 before the Coyotes battled back getting within a point at 15-14 on a kill by Maddy Beckett (JR/Halstead, Kan.). The Coyotes drew even at 19-all on a block by Morgan Bryand (JR/Wichita, Kan.) and Elizabeth Hardacre (JR/Kensington, Kan.), and took a 22-20 lead on a handling error by Friends.

The Falcons came back, scoring five of the last six points in the set to win 25-23.

An inspired group of Coyotes rocketed out to a 5-0 lead to start the second set, but Friends briefly made things interesting getting with a point at 9-8. The Coyotes would rattle off six of the next seven points to extend the lead out to 15-9. A service ace by Melinna Schumann (FR/Sabetha, Kan.) made it 23-15 in the set, and a Bryand kill closed out the set.

Wesleyan came out of the break inspired again, rocketing out to a 13-2 lead in the third set on a kill from Alexis Utz (SO/Kansas City, Mo.). The Coyotes led 20-8 in the set when Friends made a little run to make it 20-12. A Friends error and a Schumann kill made it 22-12 and the Coyotes finished the set on a Chelsea James (JR/Wichita, Kan.) kill.

Friends led 11-5 in the fourth set, but the Coyotes came roaring back, using a 9-1 run to take a 14-12 lead on a service ace by Josie Deckinger (SO/Wichita, Kan.). Friends got within a point at 15-14, but got no closer as KWU extended its lead out to 18-15 and 23-17 before ending the match on a block by Bryand and Hardacre.

Hardacre led the Coyotes with 11 kills and had five blocks in the match, hitting .280 along the way. The Coyotes also got seven kills each from Schumann, James and Bryand. Deckinger had 21 assists and Cortney Hanna (JR/Lawrence, Kan.) had 17. Emily Monson (SR/Cheney, Kan.) had 24 digs in the match.

The Coyotes are back in action this weekend in Hastings, Neb., at the Hastings College Classic. KWU faces Hastings, Haskell, College of Saint Mary (Neb.) and Dakota State in the event.