Washburn's MIAA tournament run ends in semifinal to UCM; will now await NCAA tourney announcement
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KEARNEY, Neb. -- Five Lady Blues reached double figures in kills and Washburn led in kills, attack percentage and digs but they fell 3-2 (25-22, 24-26, 13-25, 25-23, 15-11) Friday night to eighth-ranked Central Missouri in the MIAA tournament semifinal.
No. 4 Washburn fell to 31-3 and will now await Sunday's 9 p.m. announcement of the 64-team tournament field. The Lady Blues were fourth in this week's regional and national rankings and will be looking for an invitation to their ninth straight tournament and 10th in school history.
Central Missouri (26-5) will be playing Saturday for the MIAA championship against the Nebraska-Kearney/Emporia State match that followed this match.
Jessica Kopp led Washburn with 14 kills while Kelsey Lewis and Hillary Hughes had 13 each. Marissa Cox had 12 and led Washburn with four blocks and a .310 attack percentage while MIAA player of the year Jessica Fey had 11 kills.
Hughes added 16 digs for a double-double as Washburn dug up 109 Central Missouri attacks. Courtney Churchman had 33 of them for a career high and Gracie Petersen had 17 with a career-high 47 assists for her first double-double of the year. Kelsey Lewis also knotched a double-double with 15 digs.
Washburn led 8-5 in the fifth set after two straight kills from Hughes and one from Kopp. The Jennies anwered with three straight points and seven of the next eight to go up 12-9. Lewis got a kill to pull Washburn within two but a pair of points for the Jennies got them to match point. Lewis got one more kills before the Jennies put the match away to advance to Saturday's 5 p.m. MIAA tournament championship against the winner of Friday's Nebraska-Kearney/Emporia State match.
Carly Sojka led the Jennies with 17 kills and 26 digs. Bradye Peniston had14 kills and Annie Reilly had 25 digs.
The Lady Blues hit .193 while UCM hit .146 as a team. Washburn led in kills, 67-58 and in digs, 109-103. The Jennies held an 8-7 lead in blocks.
Washburn coach Chris Herron coached his 400th match at Washburn. It was his 28th match against Central Missouri, the team he's played the most in his career.
The Lady Blues dropped the first set by three and were down 7-1 quickly in the second set. It was 12-6 before they went on a 5-0 run to get within one and they fought their way back after that to tie it at 16. A 3-0 run later gave them a 23-21 lead and then Lewis got Washburn to set point with a kill. Hughes answered with another to tie the match at 1-1.
Washburn controlled most of the third set after taking an 11-4 lead. An 8-0 run later put Washburn at set point at 24-9. The Jennies lengthened the set with four straight points but Cox set down the final kill to give Washburn a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was tied 10 times including three times at 20, 21 and 22. Two straight points from the Jennies got them to set point and after a kill from Kopp, they ended the set with a kill to force the fifth set.