Wichita State Overpowers Dayton

DAYTON, Ohio — Wichita State hit a season-best .317 and got 21 kills from Brylee Kelly to down Dayton 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 25-18 on Friday night at the Frericks Center.

The first set was arguably Wichita State’s most impressive offensive display of the season to date. The Shockers (5-5) hit a staggering .565, committing just two errors while racking up 15 kills. More than half of those came from Kelly, who racked up eight terminations on just ten swings. While Wichita State did not trail in the set, Dayton (6-5) made a late charge by scoring three straight points to claw within 24-22. After a timeout, Sophia Rohling slammed home her second kill of the set to clinch the opening frame.

The Shockers were nearly as efficient in the second set, hitting .371 thanks in large part to 16 assists from setter Kayce Litzau, the most by a Shocker in a single set this season. Kelly once again carried the load with six kills on ten attacks, but Rohling (4), Natalie Foster (3) and Morgan Stout (3) aided the offensive. As in the first set, Wichita State was in control for the entirety of the set, leading the rest of the way after an early 4-4 tie. But Dayton made things interesting late, nearly erasing a 19-14 deficit after a WSU attack error cut the Shocker lead to 22-21. Rohling delivered two pivotal kills to reach 24-22, giving the Shockers set point. The Flyers stayed alive with a kill from Grace Dynda, but Karissa Kaminski fired the ensuing serve long to nail down set two for Wichita State.

The third stanza was by far the most competitive of the evening, featuring 13 ties and five lead changes. Wichita State hit just .107 in the set and committed three more service errors. Still, WSU battled back to reach 22-22 following a Liana Sarkissian misfire for Dayton. The Flyers responded, grabbing back-to-back points on a Kelly error and a kill from Amelia Moore, then secured a 25-23 win a point later when Lexie Almodovar sent home her fourth kill of the set.

There would be no such drama in the fourth and deciding set. The Shockers seized control with a 5-0 run to turn a 7-6 deficit into an 11-7 lead, highlighted by back-to-back kills from Morgan Weber. Wichita State eventually stretched the lead to seven at 20-13 when Foster blasted home a kill to force a Dayton timeout. Kelly took it the rest of the way for the Shockers, notching the final three points of the evening to give Wichita State the win in their first-ever meeting with the Flyers.

The Shockers survived a season-high 15 service errors, a number matched by Dayton. Litzau dished out a season-high-tying 49 assists to go along with a team-high 13 digs, while Rohling hit a solid .320 with 12 kills. Foster matched a career high with three aces and seven digs in addition to nine kills. Stout chipped in seven putdowns on just ten chances.

Wichita State will be back in action Saturday morning at Wright State. First serve from CJ McGlin Gymnasium is set for 10:00 am.