Shockers Win Fifth Straight, Sweep Charlotte

WICHITA, Kan. —¬†Wichita State held Charlotte to a -.022 hitting percentage with the help of 10.0 team blocks, sweeping away the 49ers 25-14, 25-13, 25-17 on Saturday night at Charles Koch Arena. It is the first time Wichita State has forced an opponent to hit below .000 since September 26, 2016 in a three-set win over Evansville (-.043).
The victory is the fifth in a row for Wichita State (8-4, 2-0).

The match had just three total lead changes as the Shockers never trailed past eight points in any of the three sets. Wichita State broke an early 7-7 tie with a 9-1 run and never looked back, using a balanced offensive attack that featured multiple kills from five different sources. Barbara Koehler spearheaded the charge with perhaps her best match as a Shocker, delivering three kills in the first set on her way to nine for the evening, tying Natalie Foster for match-high honors. Kills from Koehler and Foster helped the Shockers run away with the opening stanza, stretching the lead out to 21-12 before a Charlotte timeout. Three points later a 49ers setting error clinched the opener for WSU. Charlotte (7-7, 0-2) hit .062 for the opening set, which proved to be their best total in any of the three frames.

The Shockers defensive effort went to another level in the second set. WSU turned in 4.0 blocks, two assists apiece from Foster, Emerson Wilford and Morgan Stout, forcing Charlotte into 11 hitting errors compared to just seven kills. On the offensive side, Sophia Rohling slammed down four kills in the set, part of her near-flawless performance that finished with eight kills on a .571 hitting percentage. The Shockers scored the first three points of the set and cruised from there, quickly swelling the advantage to 15-6 after another kill from Koehler. The lead never dropped below eight the rest of the frame, which ended on an emphatic block from Foster and Rohling.

Wichita State got off to their slowest start in the third set, trailing 8-5 for their largest deficit of the night. The response was a 10-0 run to match the longest stretch of consecutive points for Wichita State this season, keyed at the service line by Gabi Maas. Setter Izzi Strand delivered three kills of her own during the burst, which also included a trio of Foster kills. When it was all over, Wichita State had flipped the 8-5 deficit into a 15-8 lead that made it a comfortable home stretch. After a quiet first two sets, Foster powered Wichita State with seven kills in the final frame, most by any WSU player in a single set this season. She finished the night with nine terminations, including the match winner.

Strand dished out 31 assists to direct the Shocker onslaught, while Wilford keyed the defensive effort with a career-best 12 digs. Morgan Weber joined Wilford in double figures with 10 digs of her own, while Maas chipped in eight.

Wichita State is back in action with a pair of crucial road contests against projected West Division favorite SMU. First serve on Friday in Dallas is scheduled for 7:00 pm.