OMAHA, Neb. — Wichita State held a potent Northern Colorado attack to a .144 hitting percentage, rolling past the defending Big Sky champions 25-18, 25-20, 25-18 on Friday night at Baxter Arena.
The match featured just two lead changes, both early in the first set, as the Shockers (3-2) controlled the action with an air-tight defensive effort. Libero Lily Liekweg racked up 16 digs, and Wichita State combined for 11 blocks, including three solo rejections from Sophia Rohling. With the opening stanza deadlocked at 11-11, the Shockers unleashed an 8-0 run to seize the initiative. Natalie Foster had four kills in the sequence, part of her seven in the set on just ten attacks. The Shockers eventually built the lead to 24-15, putting away the set three points later via an emphatic kill from Morgan Weber.
The Shockers kept the Bears (3-1) at arm’s length through the second set, never trailing while fending off several Northern Colorado rallies. The last of these tied the set at 18-18, but the three-headed monster of Foster, Rohling and Brylee Kelly all responded with kills to balloon the lead back to 21-18. Morgan Stout put the finishing touches on the win with a block assist and a kill for a two-sets-to-none lead.
Foster, Rohling and Kelly combined for 12 kills in the third set with zero attack errors, helping the Shockers hit .263 in a convincing 25-18 win. WSU blitzed the Bears out of the gate, surging to a quick 8-1 lead and forcing a Northern Colorado timeout. The Bears made their final charge with four straight points to pull within 15-13 but would get no closer down the stretch as Weber delivered a pair of crucial service aces to maintain the margin. Another service ace, this one from Kayce Litzau, nailed down the Shockers first sweep of the 2022 season.
Wichita State racked up seven aces in total while committing just two service errors. Litzau handed out 35 assists, helping the Shockers hit .277 on 15 kills from Foster and 11 from Rohling.
WSU will return to action next week at the Kansas Invitational, battling UNLV and in-state foe Kansas on Thursday, September 8. First serve against UNLV to open the tournament is scheduled for 12:00 pm.