EDMOND, Okla. (WU Athletics) – Fourth-seeded Washburn Volleyball was eliminated from the MIAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 20 with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 16-25, 25-22) loss at top-seeded Central Oklahoma in the semifinals.
WU (28-5) led throughout much of the first set, but a late burst from the Bronchos gave the home team a 1-0 lead in the match. The Ichabods rolled out to an 11-5 lead in the opening minutes before UCO cut the lead to one, 16-15, later on. From there, Washburn again pulled away to a three-point lead late (23-20), but five straight from UCO dealt the Ichabods a 25-23 defeat in the first.
Washburn fought back in the second set to draw even with the Bronchos in the match. The Ichabods fell behind 9-4 early on before beginning a long climb back to tie it, 16-16. WU eventually took the lead, 18-17, off a UCO error before stretching the lead to two (20-18) with back-to-back kills from Kelsey Barrick. That breathing room proved crucial for the Ichabods as UCO cut the lead to one three more ties, but Washburn hung tough to win, 25-22. Carley Swan had two kills and assisted in two blocks in the final six points of the set.
Trailing 8-7 in the third, WU allowed a stretch of eight unanswered for the Bronchos that put the Ichabods down nine, 16-7. Out of a timeout, Washburn ran off two straight to end the run but couldn’t sustain a comeback and dropped the third frame, 25-16.
Down 8-4 in the fourth, Washburn ran off five unanswered to take a 9-8 lead, but saw the Bronchos respond with a charge of their own, pulling back ahead by five, 16-11, soon after. Facing elimination, Washburn charged back to within two (20-18) before three straight from UCO brought the game back to five. The Ichabods, however, wouldn’t quit and rebounded with four straight of their own to claw back within one (23-22). The Bronchos, however, thwarted the comeback, as WU fell, 25-22.
As a team, Washburn had 15 total blocks on the night, its second-highest total of the season.
Washburn will now wait for the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, Nov. 23 to determine its postseason fate. The Ichabods were ranked fifth, six and seventh in the three previous NCAA Central Region rankings. Tournament winners from the MIAA, NSIC and GAC will receive automatic bids to the NCAA tournament, with the other five spots determined on an at-large basis.