Jason Oliveira, Assistant Sports Information Director
TOPEKA – The first edition of the Conflict on I-335 went to the way of the Washburn Ichabods on Tuesday as they took down rival Emporia State in four sets, 3-1. With the result, No. 21 Washburn volleyball improved to 3-0 in MIAA play while pushing its season total to 15-0, tying the 2009 mark for best start in program history.
The Ichabods controlled much of the match as it hit .216, tallying 56 kills on 153 swings with 23 errors. Washburn never trailed during sets 1, 2, and 4, though saw seven lead changes in the third. Defensively, WU had 60 digs and 13 team blocks.
Allison Maxwell’s net presence was felt on both sides as she had match-highs with 15 kills and nine blocks, also good for a career-best. Shayla Conner registered her eighth double-double of the season as she finished with 40 assists and 11 digs. Genna Berg also recorded her third double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs. Faith Rottinghaus led Washburn with 12 digs.
Set 1: Washburn cruised past the Hornets in the opening frame 25-13. The Ichabods hit a match-best .312 as they converted 14 of 32 attempts with four errors. With three kills each, Allison Maxwell and Genna Berg the charge in the first, while Erica Montgomery, Shayla Conner and Taylor Antonowich registered a pair apiece.
Set 2: Paced by four kills by Allison Maxwell in the second the momentum controlled to roll for WU in the second. The Ichabods opened with a 5-1 run as Maxwell drilled a back-to-back swings following a trio of ESU errors. The Hornets retaliated with 7-5 exchanged as they cut the Washburn margin to two, 10-8. A pair of 4-1 runs following helped WU established a 18-12 prior to taking the set, 25-19, and a 2-0 match lead.
Set 3: In true see-saw fashion, the Ichabods and Hornets combined for 15 ties during the first 32 points of the third set. Washburn’s 3-0 sprut to give itself a 6-5 lead was most consecutive points tallied as the sides traded possession of the match. With the Ichabods leading 15-14, ESU tacked on a pair as it had done throughout the set to inch its way out front. The Hornets repeated the favorable 2-1 exchange and soon found themselves leading late, 22-18, before taking the frame, 25-20.
Set 4: Sprinting out to a 5-1 lead early Washburn quickly extended its margin with a 6-2 run. The Ichabods eventually assumed a double-figure advantage as Makayla Maxwell and Montgomery registered consecutive kills as part of 3-0 spurt. With Washburn leading 18-7 the Hornets were able to capitalize on WU attack miscues trimming the difference behind an 8-1 run. During the ESU rally, the Ichabods surrendered five points off attack errors. WU however quickly recovered following a timeout pushing its lead back to eight before a Kelsey Gordon secured the set, 25-17.
The Ichabods will resume conference play this weekend as they take to the road and visit Lindenwood on Friday before squaring off with No. 13 Central Missouri on Saturday.