The Emporia State volleyball team lost a tough match against rivals and #4 ranked Washburn University in five sets on Friday 25-23, 13-25, 26-24, 20-25 and 7-15.
“When playing a team like this you need to consistently do your part, fight and bring force,” said Head Coach Bing Xu. “We traded off with strong and weak rotations. Overall we fought pretty hard.”
The Hornets won the first set by pure force of will. After the loss of key player Brittney Miller in the initial seconds of the first set to an injury, the Hornets stormed to take a lead that Washburn was unable to close.
“After (Miller) was down the players raised their level… without Brittney they have to do more and fight harder,” Xu said. “Not a lot of the game plan changed, we just moved people around a bit.”
The Hornet players also noticed the reaction the team needed after the injury.
“Our first reaction was panic, but we really came together as a team after that and pushed through it and were able to play as hard as we did,” said Sophomore Defensive Specialist Meg Schwartz. “I’m really proud of our team for doing that.”
The second set brought an early shift in momentum. After gaining a quick lead, Washburn left the Hornets reeling. Unable to rally for a comeback and struggling for points, the Hornets lost the second set.
Emporia State began the third set with an early deficit. Rallying, and not resigning themselves to another set loss, the Hornets fought back and won the set after a ten point deficit.
“We didn’t want to lose, having that motivation… trying to play our best and beat a great team,” said Senior Mid-Hitter Brianne Boner.
Going into the fourth set the Hornets had the momentum coming out cool and collected. Washburn built up another lead over the Hornets which they were unable to catch up to, losing the set.
“In the beginning, we’d get down and then we’d be fighting to catch up and that definitely hurt us,” Schwartz said. “We needed to come out from the beginning and get a lead in the beginning instead of trying to work our way back and win.”
Struggling through the tiebreaker the Hornets would go on to lose the game.
“This was everybody’s game and one of the main players down now we needed everyone to step up,” Xu said. “The whole team (came together well) I really liked what we put over there.”
The Hornets close out regular season play with a match against unranked Fort Hays State at home on Nov. 13th. Regionals begin Nov. 17th.