The Lady Blues hit over .450 as a team in the final two games as they swept Missouri-Rolla, 30-22, 30-20, 30-20 Tuesday night in their home opener at Lee Arena to move head coach Chris Herron into a tie for second at Washburn with his 155th win.
No. 12 Washburn (9-1) will continue action Friday and Saturday in Searcy, Arkansas, with four matches in the Harding Lady Bison Invitational.
The Lady Blues started the match looking like a highly-ranked team that was playing a program in its first year as they raced to a 5-0 start with All-Americans Tessa Jones and Monica Miesner each opening up with a pair of kills. But UMR, which started all freshmen, got on the board and cut the lead to 12-10 off four straight points.
Washburn then went on a 6-1 run to go ahead, 18-11 and then four straight points off Mandi Cox’s serve put the game away for the Lady Blues as they went up 24-16.
WU hit .240 in the first game then .484 and .455 in the second and third games, respectively. Stephanie Nitz led the attack with a .588 percentage and Cox followed with a .556 effort. Both reached double figures in kills with 11 each while Jones led the team with 13. Jones bumped her career kill total to 989, putting her 11 away from joining the 1,000 kill club.
Miesner just missed a double-double with 10 digs and nine kills while Erica Cowhick led the back line with 11 digs. Cowhick moved into a tie for first at Washburn with her 79th career double-figure dig match, tying All-American Dani McHenry.
Setter Kate Hampson led the offense with 47 assists and added five kills, six digs and three blocks. Nitz led the defense with five blocks.
Despite hitting .484 in the second game as a team, Washburn found itself down to the Miners early on. The Lady Blues built a 7-4 lead but UMR followed with a 5-2 run to tie the score at 9-9. Leandra Pelae, who led all players with 14 kills, had three of them during the run. The Lady Miners took the lead at 12-11 but then gave up six straight points to Washburn, three of them on attack errors. The Lady Blues held off UMR and scored five straight points late to go up, 28-19 and put the game out of reach.
Washburn led throughout the third game and hit .455 to earn its sixth sweep of the year.
Herron’s win moved him into a tie for second in career wins at Washburn with a 155-35 record in his sixth year. Tied with Kelly Stauffer-Osburn, he is now 12 wins away from tying for first all-time.