Women’s Volleyball match | Photo by Diana Jaber | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University (WSU) volleyball eliminated IPFW from the Horizon League championship with a 3-0 sweep on Sunday, punching their ticket to a Horizon League final.
This 3-0 sweep is the 11th this season for the Raiders in 15 conference matches, giving them an overall 45-5 record in sets and a 15-0 record.
Scouting for WSU gave them the edge over the Mastodons, as Player of the Year Katie Crowe was completely shut down by the Raider defense.
“I thought that we did a really good job scouting and preparing for what they were going to do,” Head Coach Allie Matters said in a post-game interview. “We took their comfort away from them, and it was good for us in the end.”
Earning their awards
Jenna Story and Lainey Stephenson both earned HL honors at the end of the regular season, and their play against IPFW showed exactly why.
Defensive Player of the Year Jenna Story led the match in digs with 24, while also helping out on offense with seven assists and leading the game in aces with three.
With IPFW having an offensive threat like Crowe, who led the league in total kills and kills per set this year, Story’s defensive play allowed WSU to execute their own play while denying the Mastodons.
Setter of the Year Stephenson doubled the assists of any other player on the court with 30 throughout the match while forcing the defense to be ready for anything with four well-placed shots when IPFW wasn’t paying attention.
She was also a part of shutting down Crowe, totaling 13 digs throughout the game.
“Lainey definitely earned her title of Setter of the Year today,” Matters said. “Her ball distribution was all that we could ask for.”
Celia Powers and Teddie Sauer earned All-League First Team honors as well, as Powers totaled eight kills, four blocks, and 16 digs on Sunday and Sauer led the game in kills with 11.
Douse the Flames
Both WSU and UIC are on a hot streak right now, with only one conference game lost all season between both teams.
While the Raiders led their match to a relaxed 3-0 sweep, the Flames were on the edge of elimination, with NKU leading them 2-0, before UIC was able to complete a reverse sweep and win the match 3-2.
The Norse even led the Flames 18-8 in set four, but kills over and over from Martina Delucchi helped UIC turn the match in their favor and win the set 25-23.
The players to worry about from the Flames are All-League First Team recipient Paola Santiago and Freshman of the Year Becca Oldendorf.
Santiago is the go-to hitter for UIC, totaling over 200 kills for UIC on 3.14 kills/set. Oldendorf earned All-League Second Team honors along with Freshman of the Year, posting 2.59 kills/set and ranking third in the league in hitting percentage with 0.325.
The Freshman class of UIC’s team is very solid as well. Along with Oldendorf, Jaclyn Oblena and Martina Delucchi earned a spot on the All-League Freshman Team, with Delucchi leading UIC in kills against NKU.
While WSU is the favorite coming into the match, if UIC’s match against NKU can show anything, it’s never count out the Flames.
Editor’s note: WSU secured their second straight appearance at the NCAA tournament after defeating UIC 3-2 on Saturday afternoon.