WICHITA, Kan. — Wichita State hit .348 as a team and out-blocked Cincinnati seven to one over the final two sets, knocking off the Bearcats 25-16, 19-25, 25-18, 25-21 on Sunday afternoon at Charles Koch Arena.
The win marked the first season sweep of the Bearcats since the 2017 campaign, and also clinched a winning record for the Shockers (16-12, 11-6).
Wichita State got huge offensive performances from Brylee Kelly (19 kills, .389 hitting percentage), Natalie Foster (17, .600) and Sophia Rohling (13, .619) all from the direction of setter Kayce Litzau, who finished with 50 assists on a stellar .476 set percentage. Litzau also chipped in a match-high 14 digs.
The Shockers stormed out of the gates, forcing two Cincinnati timeouts in taking a quick 14-5 lead. The lead eventually swelled to as many as 10 when Foster slammed home a kill to make it 20-10, but Cincinnati (9-19, 7-11) fought back to within 21-16 to force a Shockers timeout. Out of the break, WSU scored four points in rapid succession to nail down the opening set, capped off by a block from Rohling and Morgan Stout.
Foster finished the set with six kills on seven swings, her best hitting percentage in a single set this season.
The Bearcats led from the jump in set two, three times extending their advantage out to eight points (16-8, 17-9, 18-10) thanks to six kills from Carly Glendinning. Wichita State made a late charge with four straight points to pull within 20-16, but Glendinning responded with three kills down the stretch to even the score at one set apiece.
After Cincinnati seized an early 7-4 advantage in the decisive third set, Wichita State put together a crucial 5-0 run to take the lead at 9-7. They would not relinquish that edge for the remainder of the set, as Kelly fired home seven kills in the frame to keep the Bearcats at arm’s length. WSU did not allow Cincinnati to score three straight points until the lead was 24-15, and Kelly squelched the mini rally with an emphatic kill to give the Shockers a 2-1 lead.
Lauren McMahon came off the bench in the set to notch four block assists, part of five team blocks in the set for the Shockers compared to none by Cincinnati.
Kelly kept up the barrage in the fourth set, delivering six kills on ten swings without an error. Rohling was perfect in the set, four kills on four attempts, and McMahon added a vital kill late in the set when Cincinnati had cut the lead to 22-21. An attack error from Cincinnati’s Shaye Eggleston brought the Shockers to match point, and McMahon tapped home an overpass on the ensuing serve to secure the victory.
Libero Lily Liekweg was honored prior to the match as the Shockers lone senior, and reached double figures with 10 digs. Lara Uyar matched her total, while Kelly fell just one dig shy of another double-double, settling for nine.
The Shockers wrap up the regular season with two road matches, beginning Wednesday at SMU. First serve from Dallas is scheduled for 12:00 pm on ESPNU.