WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita State dropped a pair of closely contested sets and could not recover from the deficit, falling to Omaha 22-25, 24-26, 25-18, 19-25 on Thursday night at Baxter Arena.
The opening set was largely controlled by Omaha (3-1), though the Shockers battled back from an early deficit to grab a 16-15 lead on a Brylee Kelly kill. Another Kelly kill later in the set evened the score at 21-all, but the Mavericks got three big kills from Shayla McCormick down the stretch to grab a 25-22 win. Kelly hit .417 in the set with six kills to pace the Shocker attack.
Omaha used an 8-1 run midway through the second set to seize control, turning an 11-10 lead into 18-11 on a kill from McKenna Ruch. The lead remained at six following an Omaha ace, but the Shockers surged following a timeout. Trailing 22-16, WSU rattled off eight of the next ten points, getting a kill from Sophie Childs to tie the set at 24-24. Two Maverick terminations would follow, however, allowing Omaha to escape with a 26-24 victory and a 2-0 lead.
Wichita State (2-2) got a monster third set from Sophia Rohling to fend off defeat. Rohling powered home seven kills on 12 attempts (.583) as the Shockers took advantage of a key 5-0 spurt to seize an 18-11 lead they would not relinquish. The Mavericks got within 22-18, but Kelly delivered a kill and two subsequent attack errors from McCormick clinched a 25-18 Shocker win.
The fourth set was tied 10-10, but the Mavericks were able to pull away courtesy of seven kills from Mariah Buss. The Shockers made things interesting when facing match point at 24-15, as Annalie Heliste keyed a 4-0 run at the service line and forced an Omaha timeout. Out of the timeout, Buss put down the winner to secure the victory for Omaha.
Kelly led the Shockers with 17 kills, while Rohling fired home 14. Kayce Litzau handed out 38 assists and recorded 15 digs, while Lily Liekweg also reached double-figures with 11.
Wichita State wraps up the Omaha Challenge on Friday night against Northern Colorado