KWU volleyball ends streak to Swedes with straight set sweep

Jessica Biegert had grown weary of the rollercoaster ride her Kansas Wesleyan volleyball team had been on so far this season.

A week off gave her and her staff time to address the Coyotes’ shortcomings and it showed in their non-conference match against arch rival Bethany Saturday afternoon.

KWU took control at the outset and never backed off en route to a 3-0 victory (25-16, 25-14, 25-13) inside Mabee Arena.

“We really just took our time this week at being disciplined on things and being mentally tough,” Biegert said. “Lots of mentally stuff at practice so we wouldn’t ride that rollercoaster anymore.”

KWU hit at a .269 percentage for the match and five individuals had at least five kills. Maddy Beckett (JR/Halstead, Kan.) led the way with 12 and Chelsea James (JR/Wichita, Kan.) had eight.

Bethany (0-9) hit minus-.010 percent on the day.

Libero Emily Monson (SR/Cheney, Kan.) had huge day at the service line, recording five aces that included three in a row and four out of five during a key stretch early in the first set.

“Just mixing up where our serve was going, never letting them know where we’re going to,” she said. “Jess does a great job of finding those people who to pinpoint and focus on and does a good job of telling us where to go (with the serve).

“(Friday) in practice I was really focusing on bettering my serve and I wanted to transition that into today.”

Monson, the Kansas Conference’s Defender of the Week, said having seven days off was beneficial.

“I think it helped us all collect ourselves, kind of rest up a little bit,” she said. “It was nice to have that week to recoup.”

The victory ended a five-match losing streak against the Swedes. Biegert was especially pleased to see it streak end.

“We’d been 0-5 against Bethany since I got here so we got that one off our back,” she said. “Bethany lost a lot of players and we lost nobody so that kind of gave us that extra confidence. It was a confidence booster, a good game to get our rhythm in and beat that curse.”

Trailing 3-1 in the first set KWU took control by scoring 13 of the next 16 points. The Coyotes had five aces in the set, four from Monson.

Tied 12-12 in the second set Monson took the serve once again and Wesleyan scored nine consecutive points for a 21-12 lead.

Leading 10-8 in the third set the Coyotes pulled away with an 11-2 run and led 21-10.

Monson had a team-high 16 digs and Beckett five assist blocks. Cortney Hanna (JR/Lawrence, Kan.) set the offense with 20 assists and Josie Deckinger (SO/Wichita, Kan.) 14. KWU finished with eight service aces.

“We didn’t ride the rollercoaster of emotions,” Monson said. “Sometimes we go up and down but today we stayed pretty levelheaded and just played our game like we know how to.”

The Coyotes open Kansas Conference play against McPherson at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Mabee Arena. The Bulldogs were picked to finish second in the KCAC coaches’ preseason poll. Preseason favorite Ottawa comes to Mabee Arena for a 2 p.m. match next Saturday.