Joy Smith, Assistant Athletic Communications/Marketing Director
DURANGO, Colo. – The No. 4-ranked Washburn volleyball team improved to 6-0 after posting a pair of shutout victories against Western New Mexico (2-5) and tournament host Fort Lewis (4-4) on Friday. The Ichabods will conclude their time in Colorado tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 14) with two final matches. Washburn is set to face West Texas A&M with a first serve at 11:30 a.m. Central Time and then Adams State at 3:30 p.m.
Washburn 3, Western New Mexico 0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-13)
The Ichabods jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the opening set and never trailed. Western New Mexico got within three points at 14-11, but Washburn responded with a 7-0 scoring run to extend its lead to 21-11. The Mustangs scored five points as the Ichabods sat at set point, but it wasn’t enough as Washburn claimed a 25-18 victory.
The second set saw Western New Mexico take a quick 6-1 lead. The Ichabods trailed by as much as nine points in the set, but with the score 17-9 in favor of the Mustangs, Washburn began its come back. A bad set by Western New Mexico and kills by Genna Berg and Erica Montgomery helped closed in on the scoring difference, making it 17-12. Washburn went on an 8-2 scoring run and took a 20-19 lead after an attacking error committed by Western New Mexico. It was back and forth scoring as the teams tied at 20, 21, and 22 before Washburn scored the three final points to win the set 25-22. Taylor Antonowich sealed the triumph with a service ace.
The third set started out close with back and forth scoring yet again, but Washburn took a 5-4 lead and never looked back. The Ichabods scored eight of the last 10 points of the match and cruised to a 25-13 final set win and secured their fourth sweep victory of the season.
The Ichabods finished the match with a .273 hitting percentage while holding Western New Mexico to a .092 attacking percentage.
Kelsey Gordon was nearly unstoppable on the attack as she had 11 kills on 13 swings for a .769 percentage. Seven of her 11 kills came in the third set. Berg also recorded 11 kills and added one solo and one assisted block. Allison Sadler had 29 assists and two service aces. Taylor Antonowich led the team with three aces.
Washburn 3, Fort Lewis 0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-16)
Washburn won the first set 25-14 and held Fort Lewis to just four kills on 28 attempts. Although the Ichabods also struggled with errors in the set, they were able to record 15 kills from six different players.
The Ichabod offense was on target in the second set as they landed 12 kills on 18 attempts with just one error for a .611 attacking percentage. With Washburn leading 6-4, Gordon knocked down a kill that sparked a 6-1 scoring run that helped the Ichabods extend their lead. Two attack errors in a row by the Skyhawks gave the Ichabods a 25-12 second set advantage.
The third set saw Fort Lewis grab its first lead of the match as the team went up 4-3 early. The Ichabods responded quickly, though, as a big kill by Montgomery tied up the match and started a 9-1 run. Sophomore Sydney Fitzgibbons recorded three kills during that scoring run. Back-to-back service aces from Sadler gave Washburn a double-digit lead at 18-8. The Ichabods held on to their lead and won 25-16, completing their fifth shutout victory this season.
For the fifth time this season, Washburn held its opponent to a hitting percentage below .100 as the Skyhawks finished at .000 while the Ichabods hit the .351 mark.
Allison Maxwell led the team with 10 kills on .389 hitting with one solo block. Faith Rottinghaus had a team-high 20 digs while Sadler dished out 31 assists and added four service aces, tying her career-best. As a team, the Ichabods finished with 10 service aces, which is the most in one match for Washburn since August 25, 2018.