It was a grind-it-out performance from the Shockers (18-7, 12-3), who went into the intermission tied at 1-1 following two closely contested sets. The insertion of Morgan Weber into the lineup at the start of the third set keyed Wichita State’s surge; the Shockers did not trail at any point over the final two sets. WSU held UTSA (15-12, 8-8) to hitting percentages of .143 and .056 over those final two frames and a .176 clip for the match as a whole, compared to .238 for the Shockers.
A wildly entertaining opening set featured 15 ties and 4 lead changes as control of the frame swung back and forth. Neither team led by more than three at any point, but Wichita State got a crucial block from Morgan Stout and Emerson Wilford to take a 23-22 lead and two kills from Natalie Foster to escape with a 25-23 win. UTSA committed five service errors in the set and 13 for the match, aiding the Wichita State cause.
The Roadrunners used a huge 9-1 run in the middle of the second set to flip an 8-5 deficit into a 14-9 lead. The Shockers crawled all the way back to within one after a block from Stout and Brylee Kelly cut the UTSA advantage to 22-21, but the Roadrunners scored the final three points of the set to draw even at 1-1 heading to intermission.
Wichita State’s patented offensive balance emerged in the crucial third set. Foster, Stout and Sophia Rohling each contributed four kills, and aces from Gabi Maas and Katie Galligan kept the lead comfortable down the stretch. A Weber kill on set point put WSU in front 2-1.
The Shockers sprinted out to a 13-4 lead in the fourth set, later extending the lead to as large as 11 after another Rohling kill made it 18-7. UTSA refused to go quietly, however, clawing all the way back to within 22-18 before the Shockers put the match away with three consecutive points to end it.
Rohling led the WSU attack with 17 kills and just two errors, hitting .417 on her 36 attacks. Foster delivered 14 terminations and Kelly added nine, helping Izzi Strand rack up 41 assists. Four Shockers finished in double-digit digs, led by a career-high 18 from sophomore Katie Galligan.
The Shockers and Roadrunners conclude the series on Saturday afternoon. First serve from Charles Koch Arena is scheduled for 1:00 pm.