Volleyball knocked off by Newman, Monson into third in all-time digs list

Jessica Biegert wants her Kansas Wesleyan volleyball team to win every match it plays, as would any coach.

Biegert, though, understands it doesn’t just happen, there’s a process involved and sometimes the results aren’t what she wants.

Friday night the Coyotes played Newman, an NCAA Division II school, inside Mabee Arena in their home opener after nine matches on the road or at neutral sites. Newman, though, prevailed 3-1 (20-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-22) in a hotly contested match.

The loss dropped KWU to 5-5 on the season, one that has seen the Coyotes play a difficult non-conference schedule.

“We schedule tough teams to make us better for (Kansas) Conference and to check our mental capacities,” Biegert said. “As long as we’re learning from it and taking what we learn to conference then it’s worth it. If not then it’s not worth it.”

The Coyotes had a .148 hitting percentage for the night while Newman hit .178. Maddy Beckett (JR/Halstead, Kan.) led the KWU attack with 18 kills while Elizabeth Hardacre (JR/Kensington, Kan.) had 10 and Morgan Bryand (JR/Wichita, Kan.) nine. Salome Romp led Newman with 25 kills.

“Today was a good one to see where we were lacking in our last couple of games,” Biegert said. “It was good to see some people step up. I think we’re getting over that hump; we just need some more people to step up.”

KWU bolted to an 11-4 lead in the first set. Newman, which was playing its season opener, got within 23-20 before the Coyotes closed it out.

They led the second set 12-5 but Newman rallied and pulled even at 22-22. KWU reached set point three times but the Jets were able to pull even each time. Trailing 26-25 Newman tied it on a service error and proceeded to score the next two points for the victory.

“That’s the mental toughness stuff,” Biegert said. “It was just hard to recover from that in the next set.”

KWU led the third set 22-20 but Newman scored four of the final five points for the victory. It was the same story in the fourth set, KWU leading 21-20 before the Jets scored five of the next six for the victory and the match.

“We started strong but I’d rather finish strong than start strong,” Biegert said. “They’re a good team. We couldn’t shut down their outside but then we needed to come back at them instead of just playing defense.”

Biegert was happy to see Beckett have a big game.

“It was fun to see her in her normal role,” she said. “Emily (Monson) was a big factor for us and she really stepped up. She had a slow start to the season so it was fun to see her back in her groove.”

Monson, the team’s libero, finished with 33 digs, giving her 1,511 for her career and tying her for third with Victoria Gillett on the all-time list in the rally scoring era (since 2001). Monson reached the milestone much faster that Gillett, 268 sets, while Gillett did it in 438.

Beckett had 21 digs and Josie Deckinger (SO/Wichita, Kan.) 15. Deckinger also had 24 assists and Cortney Hanna (JR/Lawrence, Kan.) 23.

The Coyotes have a quick turnaround as they play Haskell at noon Saturday inside Mabee Arena. They take a week off before facing rival Bethany at noon, September 11, in a non-conference match inside Mabee Arena.