LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – Rylee Serpan (FR/Spring Hill, Kan.) had a match-best 16 kills and Elizabeth Hardacre (SR/Kensington, Kan.) added 12, hitting .500, as Kansas Wesleyan University earned a pivotal KCAC win in three sets – 30-28, 27-25, 25-14 – at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth.
Now 8-2 in the KCAC, Saturday’s win was the Coyotes’ fourth-straight, moving KWU’s overall mark to 23-6 with rivalry matches next week against Bethany (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) and at McPherson, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Morgan Bryand (SR/Wichita, Kan.) joined Serpan and Hardacre in double digits with 12 kills, and defensively, Kelcey Hund (JR/Leavenworth, Kan.) posted 17 digs, followed by 15 for Melinna Schumann (SO/Sabetha, Kan.) and 10 for Maddy Beckett (SR/Halstead, Kan.). KWU setters Josie Deckinger (JR/Wichita, Kan.) and Cortney Hanna (SR/Lawrence, Kan.) anchored an efficient offensive effort for the Coyotes, combining for 40 assists, while USM’s Ainsley Gardner was the only Spire in double figures, collecting 14 kills.
Saturday’s win didn’t come easy, especially in the first two sets, as the Coyotes needed to overcome an early seven-point deficit to begin the match, and KWU didn’t lead until late in the first set, when Chelsea James (SR/Wichita, Kan.) knocked home a kill to make it 19-18.
Saint Mary (17-13, 5-5) went on a 5-1 run and looked to be in control in the first, leading 23-20 on a kill by Michelle Dvorak. But Bryand scored and the Spires gave up a point on a bad set, keeping the Coyotes alive before Schumann’s service ace knotted things up at 24. The tie was the first of four past 24 points, including 28-28 on a kill by Bryand, and back-to-back errors for the Spires followed, handing KWU a 30-28 win in the opening frame.
Kansas Wesleyan raced out in the second, leading 5-2 on Hardacre’s kill, but a pair of 5-0 runs for the Spires had the Coyotes searching for momentum with USM in front 15-11. KWU outscored USM 10-5 over the next 15 serves and Serpan put the Coyotes in front 21-20 with a kill, followed by back-to-back kills from James that earned and split a 25-all tie ahead of a block from Bryand and Hardacre on Dvorak to claim set two 27-25.
The Coyotes claimed four of the first five points in the third and Beckett cushioned the lead with an ace to go up 10-4, as KWU never trailed in the third, extending a late 10-point lead at 21-11 on Beckett’s kill. USM’s final point cut the Coyote lead to eight, 22-14, and points by Beckett and Bryand surrounded a Saint Mary error to provide a set-ending 3-0 run, sealing the Coyotes’ eighth KCAC win of the 2022 campaign.
Kansas Wesleyan sits third in the Kansas Conference going into the final week of the regular season, and Wednesday, the Coyotes will celebrate Senior Night at Mabee Arena, against Bethany College at 7 p.m.