Wichita State Shockers volleyball team concludes a bounce-back season with a win

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The Wichita State volleyball team ended its season on Friday with a four-set win over Memphis.

It was a fitting ending, in the opinion of long-time coach Chris Lamb, as the Shockers ended three straight sub-par seasons with a bounce-back 19-10 campaign this season.

After being picked eighth in the preseason conference poll by coaches, WSU finished with a 13-7 record and fifth place — just a game behind third place.

“I’m really proud of where we were last year to the campaign that we had this year,” Lamb said. “I told the team I hope this works for them. We don’t have a banner to hang, but I’ve been here 22 seasons and this is the farthest we’ve come from the end of one season to the end of the next season.

“I’m really, really honored and proud of the job that we did this season, given how many curveballs were thrown our way.”

The highlight of the season was the development of sophomore outside hitter Brylee Kelly in her fourth year in the program. Kelly blossomed into one of the best weapons in the American, finishing with a team-high 368 kills and 3.54 kills per set while hitting .241 to go along with a team-high 37 service aces.

Another bright spot was the development of sophomore setter Kayce Litzau, who took control of the job early in the season and never let it go and allowed WSU to return to a 5-1 system. Litzau led the AAC in assists per set at 10.18 and finished with 1,110 assists on the season.

Injuries decimated WSU in the middle, but it also opened up plenty of playing time for freshmen like Natalie Foster (2.49 kills per set, .334 hitting percentage) and Morgan Stout (1.44 kills per set, .202 hitting percentage) to learn.

Another sophomore, Lily Liekweg, also emerged as a reliable option in the back row of WSU’s defense, as the libero averaged 4.14 digs per set.

After WSU finished with a combined 32-45 record the last three seasons, the return to competing with the top of the conference was a welcomed change and one that Lamb hopes the Shockers can build on with a young core expected to be back for next season.

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