LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 2021 NCAA national runner-up Washburn volleyball team closed out its regular season as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation in the final AVCA Top-25 Poll. The Ichabods finished their historic season with a record of 31-6.
The No. 2 ranking is the highest Washburn has ever finished in the final poll. Since head coach Chris Herrontook over the program in 2002, Washburn has been ranked or received votes in the final poll of the season 18 times, including nine top-10 finishes. Washburn has also been ranked in the top-25 in 38-straight weeks and been in the top-five in 28 of the last 30 rankings.
The University of Tampa finished first in the AVCA rankings after defeating Washburn in the national championship. MSU-Denver checked in at No. 3, Central Missouri was No. 4, and West Florida rounded out the top-five. Also representing the MIAA were Nebraska-Kearney and Northwest Missouri back-to-back at No. 11 and No. 12, respectively.
The Ichabods made history multiple times this season. They were ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in program history and held the top-ranking for four weeks (Sept. 20-Oct. 11). This year’s team is the first in Washburn’s history to reach the NCAA national championship match. Prior to this season, Washburn had defeated a No. 1-ranked team three times during Herron’s tenure. This fall, the Ichabods defeated two top-ranked teams on the road. WU finished the season leading the nation in kills per set (15.00 kills/set), team kills (1,905), and assists (1,720) while also finishing third and recording a single season program-best in hitting percentage (.284) and fourth in assists per set (13.54 assists/set).
Individually, Washburn had a program-high four players earn AVCA All-American honors as Allison Maxwell, Genna Berg, Kelsey Gordon, and Faith Rottinghaus all earned an award. A program-best eight Ichabods received all-MIAA accolades with five first-team selections, tying a WU record for first team conference honors.
Rottinghaus, Washburn’s all-time digs leader, finished the season leading the nation with 833 total digs and was third in DII with 6.56 digs per set. Maxwell finished the season fifth in the nation hitting .413, the highest single season attacking percentage ever for Washburn. Setter Allison Sadler totaled 1,368 assists, good for fourth in Division II. For the second-consecutive season, Berg led the Ichabods in kills. Her 475 total kills this season landed her fourth in the nation.
In Herron’s 19 seasons, he has led Washburn volleyball to a record of 562-113 and has had 10 seasons with 30 or more victories. Herron has coached Washburn to all 16 of its NCAA Tournament appearances, including three national semifinal matches.