Volleyball | Photo by Brett Hull | The Wright State Guardian
The Wright State University volleyball team faced off against the Dayton Flyers in a home opener on Thursday with WSU taking the match.
History and results
A win for the Raiders in McLin would put the team over the Flyers 2-1 in recent memory, give new head coach, Travers Green, a first home win and give the Raiders a win over a huge opponent.
The Raiders did not disappoint, taking down the Flyers 3-2 in a third five-set match between the two teams. The win included a breakout performance by WSU’s Sam Ott, incredible saves to keep rallies alive and proof in the Travers Green system of WSU volleyball.
Despite the talent of both teams, the matchup sways in UD’s favor because of a strong block and height advantage.
While the Raiders average about 6 feet tall in their middle blockers, Dayton has the 6-foot-6-inch Alayna Yates, 6-foot-5-inch Amelia Moore and 6-foot-4-inch Liana Sarkissian filling out the roster; the Flyers average about five inches taller than the Raiders.
WSU managed eight blocks to UD’s nine and had 60 kills to UD’s 63. Sam Ott, Megan Alders and Taylor Bransfield scored 18, 12 and 12 kills, respectively.
In Coach Green’s system, the Raiders construct an attack through fifth year Lainey Stephenson, who sets the ball swiftly through a quick or cross set, beating the opposing blockers.
“We want our opponents’ middle block or block or defense to just have a little bit less time to react and have to be more disciplined in how they move to block or to defend … It puts a lot of stress on our opponents and really opens things up,” Green said.
While the Flyers had successful blocks, the Raiders passed and served incredibly well to overpower the mounting defense. Moore had 12 kills and Yates had 11, coupled with the Raider’s 9 service aces versus UD’s 3.
“The identity of this team is how we pass and serve, and how keeping that consistent allows us to run with some tempo and speed,” Green said.
The rivalry that WSU Volleyball has quickly created with UD has not only affected the volleyball team, but also athletics across Wright State.
The Raiders have proved a worthy opponent of the Flyers. Since the first volleyball match versus the Flyers in 2020, golf, baseball, women’s soccer and women’s basketball have all faced UD.
“Yeah, I think that’s awesome because Dayton doesn’t usually want to play us in anything,” senior right side hitter Callie Martin said. “The first time they played us we took them to five, second time we played them we took it in five, and now they realize Wright State can play ball.”
The Raiders will finish up this weekend’s action at McLin Gym versus Wichita State at 11 a.m. and UD at 6 p.m. on Saturday. ESPN+ will stream both matches.