Nov. 18, 2010

Courtesy of Washburn

WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- The fifth-ranked Lady Blues swept Northwest Missouri State in a hard fought battle at the South Central Regional on Thursday afternoon. Washburn won 26-24, 25-23, 25-20 and advances to play sixth-seeded Abilene Christian on Friday night at 5 p.m.

The Bearcats (15-15) jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set before the Lady Blues (31-2) rallied to take an 8-7 lead on a Bearcat attack error. NWMSU regained the lead and pushed it to as many as three at 20-17. Washburn rallied to tie the match at 20-all and took the lead 21-20. A kill by Mollie Lacy gave WU set point at 24-23, but the Bearcats answered to tie the set. A Northwest Missouri service error and attacking error gave the Lady Blues a 26-24 first set win.

The second set was a back-and-forth battle with neither team leading by more than two until NWMSU grab an 11-9 lead. An 8-3 run keyed by a Lacy kill gave Washburn a 17-14 lead. As Washburn had done in the first set, the Bearcats rallied to tie it at 17 apiece. The game was tied at 20-all and 23-23 before a NWMSU attack error and an Aubri Renshaw kill gave the Lady Blues the 25-23 win and a two sets to none lead.

Washburn raced out to a 5-0 lead in the third set only to see NWMSU rally and tie the game at 9-9. The set was tied at 15 when a Lacy kill put the Lady Blues in front for good. The Bearcats got back to within one at 20-19, but three straight points put WU up 23-19. Up 23-20 Washburn got back-to-back kills from Renshaw and Jessica Fey to close out the set and the match 25-20.

Renshaw recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 12 kills and 14 digs to lead Washburn. Lacy, Fey and Breanna Lewis each had seven kills. Molly Smith had 26 digs to lead the Washburn defense that finished with 84 digs in the match. Abby Wittman and Amanda Guess had 17 and 16 assists, respectively.

Alex Hanna led the Bearcats with 13 kills, while Sara Falcone chipped in 12. Laira Akin had 34 assists and Paige Spangenberg had a match-high 28 digs.

Washburn, who improved to 8-7 all-time in the NCAA tournament, will play the No. 6 seed Abilene Christian on Friday at 5 p.m. ACU defeated the No. 3 seed Truman State 3-2 in the first match of the day.