HUTCHINSON – Kansas Wesleyan Women’s Volleyball survived a four-set thriller in the KCAC Semifinals on Friday night to beat Oklahoma Wesleyan and advance to Saturday’s KCAC Championship match at the Sports Arena.
“Morgan (Bryand) said it best – ‘that’s the definition of grit’,” Kansas Wesleyan coach Jessica Biegert said after the Coyotes’ win over OKWU, with three of the four sets needing extra points to be decided. “Those scores going into the 30’s and either team could win at any time and we just wanted it more, gave a little more effort, played through being tired, not having played twice in a day in a while. It was just very unselfish volleyball and we went out and played for each other and got it done.”
Four Coyotes had double figure kills in the win, led by 19 from Maddy Beckett (SR/Halstead, Kan.), while Hardacre had 18, Rylee Serpan (FR/Spring Hill, Kan.) had 14 and Bryand had 14. The Coyotes hit .208 for the match.
“When you have such a balanced front row and you can go to anyone at any moment, even in crunch time, it’s just really refreshing to see people step up and do it,” Biegert said.
The Coyotes will face Saint Mary in the KCAC Championship at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Sports Arena in Hutchinson. The Spires knocked off No. 22 ranked Ottawa in their semifinal match-up in five sets, ahead of the KWU match.
Wesleyan’s back line was equally as impressive as the front line crew. Four players with double digit digs, led by Kelcey Hund (JR/Leavenworth, Kan.)’s 34, while Beckett had 21 and Melinna Schumann (SO/Sabetha, Kan.) had 20. Josie Deckinger (JR/Wichita, Kan.) added 14.
Each set was a battle for the teams.
Schumann’s first set ace broke an 8-8 tie as the Coyotes pushed out to a 10-8 lead in the set. The Coyote lead grew to 18-13 on a kill by Chelsea James (SR/Wichita, Kan.), but five straight points by the Eagles drew things even at 18-all.
The Coyotes again built a 22-19 lead, only to see OKWU again come back and tie it at 23. OKWU got the first set point chance but Serpan’s kill tied it, and Beckett’s kill made it 25-24. The lead bounced back and forth with OKWU having set point again at 29-28 before another Serpan kill tied it up, and a block by Alexis Utz (JR/Kansas City, Mo.) gave the Coyotes the 31-29 set win.
KWU again trailed to start the second set until finally taking the lead 9-8 on a service ace by Hund. The Coyotes pulled out to a 15-12 lead and led 18-15 when OKWU scored three in a row to tie it. Beckett put down a kill to keep KWU ahead and Serpan’s kill made it 21-18. KWU had set point at 24-21 on a Beckett kill and Hardacre closed out the set with a kill for the 25-22 win.
The Coyotes fell behind 6-1 to start the third set but didn’t give in, coming back and tying it at 17-all in the set. An error by OKWU made it 19-18 Coyotes, and KWU led 23-20 before OKWU came back and tied it at 23 all. KWU had set point on Beckett’s kill twice at 24 and 25, before OKWU scored the final three points to win the set.
The fourth set was back and forth with neither team leading by more than three points at any point (KWU 15-12).
The Eagles came back to tie it at 15-all after KWU had taken the 15-12 lead when the see saw started. OKWU took a 16-15 lead, but Bryand got a kill to tie it. OKWU had a lead at 17-16 when Bryand killed again to tie it at 17. Again OKWU took the lead by a point, until the Coyotes got two in a row to take a 19-18 lead. OKWU answered with three straight to take a 21-19 lead. Then here came the Coyotes. Two points tied it at 21. OKWU then took the lead at 22-21, before KWU tied again.
OKWU took another lead at 23-22 before Bryand’s kill tied it at 23. OKWU had the first set point at 24-23, but Bryand got another kill to tie it. Again OKWU had set point before the Coyotes got two straight on Bryand kill and a block by Serpan and Alexis Utz to give KWU its first match point try.
OKWU scored the next two to take a 27-26 lead, but Serpan got a kill to tie it again. OKWU took another lead at 28-27, but a kill by Hardacre and another from Beckett gave KWU another match point at 29-28. OKWU tied it again, then KWU had match point at 30-29.
Finally, it was decided. OKWU tied it at 30, but the Coyotes closed it out with a kill by Hardacre, and then a monster block by Utz and Chelsea James to end the match.
Deckinger had 53 assists for the Coyotes, Utz had five blocks and Hardacre had four for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes reached the semifinal thanks to a sweep of McPherson, a team the Coyotes faced in their last regular season match, also a sweep in KWU’s favor.
Wesleyan scored the first six points of the match but McPherson came back and tied it at 8-8. The Coyotes scored the next four to take a 12-8 lead and pushed the advantage out to 22-13 in the set before coming away with a 25-16 win.
The Coyotes had to rally in the second set, trailing early but coming back to take a 12-9 lead, before pushing the lead out to 19-13 on a Bryand kill. McPherson scored the next six point to tie the set at 19, and the lead bounced back and forth until the Coyotes scored the final three to win 26-24.
A 9-2 run by the Coyotes in the third set turned a 6-6 tie into a 15-8 lead as the Coyotes controlled the third set to close the sweep at 25-18.
Serpan led the Coyotes with 10 kills, while Bryand had nine and Beckett had eight. KWU hit .265 for the match. Deckinger had 28 assists and eight digs. Hund had 13 digs and three aces.