KWU volleyball opens spring with sweep of Avila

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas Wesleyan Volleyball opened the spring half of its season on a strong note. The Coyotes swept the Avila Eagles – 25-14, 25-13, 25-21 – on Saturday inside Avila’s Mabee Fieldhouse.

The Kansas Conference decided to split its volleyball conference schedule this year, playing half in the fall and half in the spring, mainly due to the effects of COVID-19 and the havoc the pandemic has caused throughout college athletics.

Unconventional as it is, it was a good start for the purple and gold Coyote squad.

In the opening set, the Coyotes jumped out to a 4-1 lead but Avila came back to tie the set at 6-6. A kill by Alexis Utz (FR/Kansas City, Mo.) got the Wesleyan offense going, as the Coyotes scored eight of the next nine points to take a 14-7 lead in the set.

Avila got within five at 15-10, but another big run by the Coyotes, made it 22-10 as KWU cruised to the first set win.

It was 7-5 in the second set in favor of the Coyotes, when KWU pushed the lead out to 10-5, and the Coyotes led 14-10, when KWU scored five straight to take control. A kill by Maddy Beckett (SO/Halstead, Kan.) made it 21-11 and KWU closed the set with a service ace by Hinamalailena Kua (FR/Hilo, Hawaii).

Avila jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the third set. Wesleyan got back within a point at 4-3 on a service ace by Emily Monson (SO/Cheney, Kan.). Avila extended its lead back out to five at 12-7, and led 15-9 in the set.

KWU would rally, outscoring the Eagles 7-2 to get within a point at 17-16 on a service ace by Josie Deckinger (FR/Wichita, Kan.). A service ace by Beckett tied the set at 18, and the Coyotes finally grabbed the lead at 22-21 thanks to a block by Ryann Kats (JR/Prairie View, Kan.) and Elizabeth Hardacre (SO/Kensington, Kan.). The set ended completely in favor of the Coyotes, who scored the final five points to complete the sweep.

Wesleyan hit .222 as a team for the match, and were led by Beckett’s 11 kills, while Morgan Bryand (SO/Wichita, Kan.) had 10, Kats nine and Hardacre eight. Cortney Hanna (SO/Lawrence, Kan.) had 21 assists and Deckinger added 15. Beckett also served four aces. Emily Monson had 17 digs in the match. Hardacre had four blocks.

The Coyotes will return to the court on next Saturday for a match at Friends in Wichita.