The Ichabods scored the final three points Saturday to break a 12-12 tie in the fifth set and defeat fifth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney 3-2 (28-26, 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12) at Schendel Court in Lee Arena to end a 13-match losing streak to the Lopers.
No. 15 Washburn (14-3, 4-0 MIAA) will play at Missouri Southern Thursday at 7 p.m. before playing three matches over the weekend at a crossover hosted by MSSU.
Marissa Cox had 21 kills and eight blocks, including three solo blocks. Leanna Willer led the defense with a season-high 22 digs and she added 13 kills for her fourth straight double-double. Corrinne Stringer had 16 kills and three blocks.
The Ichabods out-blocked the Lopers, 17-9. Sarah Vicory had seven and Hannah Frierdich had five blocks.
The match had 40 ties, the last coming after the Lopers scored two straight to make the fifth set 12-12. Washburn called timeout and responded with a kill from Cox and an ace by Kelsey Lewis. The Lopers then called timeout but Stringer clinched the match with a kill.
The first set had 11 ties and seven lead changes to set the tone for the entire match. Washburn led 10-5 and 13-8 but the Lopers went on runs of 4-1 and 6-0 to go up 18-15. Washburn later used a 4-0 run to get to 20 but the set was tied at every point between 20 and 26. UNK got to set point at 26-25 but two straight kills from Cox and a Loper error gave Washburn the early 1-0 lead.
Washburn led 5-4 in the second set before UNK scored 13 of the next 15 points to put the set out of reach. The Ichabods hit .129 in the second set while the Lopers hit .316 to lead to the win.
Each team traded 25-22 wins in the next two sets to get to the fifth set. The Ichabods scored five straight late in the third set to pull away and UNK scored seven of the last eight in the fourth set to overcome a 21-18 Washburn lead.
The Ichabods scored first in the fifth set on a kill from Willer and led 3-1 before the Lopers later tied the match at 4-4. It was also tied at five, six, eight, nine and 12 before Washburn scored the last three.
Four other Ichabods joined Willer in double-figure digs. Kelsey Lewis had 19, Abby Wittman had 16, Sami McHenry had 13 and Courtney Churchman had 10. Wittman set 59 assists for a double-double and she added four blocks and two aces.
MJ Massanet led the Lopers with 25 kills and she hit .412 while adding 15 digs for a double-double. Libero Liz McGowan had 27 digs and Erin Seele had 58 assists and 20 digs.
The Ichabods hit .458 in the fifth set with 11 kills and no errors. The ended the match hitting .229 while UNK had a .187 average.
The Lopers served six aces and beat Washburn in kills, 72-64 to make up for the difference in blocks.
Washburn beat the Lopers for the first time since 1986. UNK joined the MIAA last season.