Washburn rolls Ark. Tech in three
Lewis records 12 kills, paces Lady Blues in first-round sweep
WARRENSBURG, Mo. – Breanna Lewis and Jessica Kopp reached double figures in kills as Washburn cruised to a 25-14, 25-15, 25-21 win against Arkansas Tech in the first round of the NCAA South Central Region tournament. No. 5 Washburn (31-2), seeded second in the region, will play third-seeded West Texas A&M in a semifinal Friday.
The Lady Blues, making their eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament and ninth overall, won their third consecutive opening round match. They will play WTAMU for the second time in the NCAA tournament in a series tied at 2-2.
The loss ended ATU's season at 35-4 and ended an 18-match winning streak. The Lady Buffs enter Friday's match also on an 18-match winning streak after a 3-1 win in the first round.
Lewis had 12 kills and just two errors to hit .417 and Kopp had a .364 attack percentage with 10 kills and also two errors. Overall, Washburn hit .344 as a team behind setter Abby Wittman's 30 assists.
Washburn trailed in every set but bounced back strong each time. The Lady Blues hit .481 in the opening set with 13 kills and no errors in 27 attacks. Kopp led WU with four kills. She and Jessica Fey combined on a block to give WU a 16-9 lead and force a timeout. A service ace from Amanda Guess forced another ATU timeout at 19-10 and then Washburn later closed the set on a kill from Breanna Lewis.
Washburn finished with seven blocks with Lewis leading with four and Mollie Lacy getting a hand on three.
The Golden Suns jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second set but a block from Lacy and Lewis gave the Lady Blues a 4-3 lead. A 5-0 run later gave the Lady Blues a 17-9 lead with the last three points coming on ATU errors. A kill from Fey later clinched the set for WU.
The third set featured nine ties before anyone got to 10 points. A kill from Kopp completed a 5-0 run that made the score 14-9 in favor of Washburn. The Golden Suns got a kill from Kelly O'Malley and then Hillary Hughes answered to start another 5-0 Washburn run to make the score 17-9. ATU called a time out and scored two consecutive points but was never able to get within seven as the Golden Suns fell short in their second NCAA tournament appearance.
A kill from Kopp gave WU a 23-15 lead and then an ATU error brought on match point. Fey's kill ended the match.
Kelsey Lewis led Washurn with 16 digs. Fey had seven kills with no errors to hit .700 and Hillary Hughes had seven kills and seven digs.
Laura Farney swung 27 times and led the Golden Suns with eight kills but she hit just .037 and Arkansas Tech hit .139 in the match.