Gene Cassell, Sports Information Director
TOPEKA – For the first time this season, Washburn volleyball was on the wrong side of a result and it saw its 22-match win streak end after falling to Northwest Missouri, 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-20), on Saturday evening at Lee Arena. As a result, the Ichabods go to 22-1 on the year and are now tied for first in the MIAA at 10-1 with Nebraska-Kearney.
No. 9 Washburn was edged out in kills, 46-43, but finished with a narrow 77-76 advantage in digs, while both sides notched 10 blocks. The major differences however were in hitting, as WU trailed .167 to .232, while points from the service line played a large role, as Northwest Missouri (17-5, 9-2 MIAA) finished with a 7-1 advantage in aces.
Erica Montgomery and Allison Maxwell each finished with double-figure kill totals as Montgomery tallied 11 while Maxwell collected 10. Shayla Conner added 31 assists and 15 digs in effort for her 10th-consecutive double-double. Faith Rottinghaus finished with a match-high 21 digs while Taylor Antonowich and Genna Berg chipped in 10 and 11, respectively.
NWMSU had three finish with double-digit kills, led by Maddy Bruder’s 15.
Set 1: The Ichabods led early with a 4-2 with kills from Montgomery and Maxwell to open. Back-to-back tallies for NWMSU evened the score at 4-4, the first of five ties during the opening frame. Tied at 7-7, kills from Allison and Makayla Maxwell pushed the Ichabods out to a slim 12-9 lead as part of a 5-2 run. The Washburn advantage soon disappeared as the Bearcats rattled of a 6-1 run, claiming a 15-13 lead. WU knotted the score at 16, but it was not enough as Northwest used a 4-0 run to pull away late.
Set 2: Trailing 5-4, Washburn rallied behind a 3-0 spurt with back-to-back kills and an assisted block from Allison Maxwell. Behind a 3-0 run of their own the Bearcats later tied the set at 10-10. NWMSU later claimed a 15-12 lead as it strung together four unanswered as part of a larger 5-2 run. From there, the Ichabods were to trim the margin to one late but a rally fell short as they fell behind, 2-0.
Set 3: The most contested set of the evening, the sides battled to 13 ties and eight lead changes. After forcing a tie at 15 and 16 with kills from Conner and Allison Maxwell, it was a pair of assisted blocks that nudged the Ichabods a slim 18-17 lead. The margin though quickly evaporated as Northwest Missouri pieced together a 5-0 run late and never looked back as it went on to take the set, 25-20.
Up next: Washburn return to road action on Tuesday as it travels I-335 to take on Emporia State at 6 pm.