That's the best way to describe the first month of the 2018 DII volleyball season as yet another No. 1 team fell Saturday night. This time, Washburn played the role of underdog, defeating Nebraska-Kearney 3-1on its home court at Lee Arena in Topeka, Kansas. It will likely lead to yet another shakeup in the next AVCA top 25 poll, where three teams have already sat at the No. 1 spot in 2018.
Let's go beyond the box score and take a look at the Ichabods' big night.
Washburn was on the attack Saturday night, winning the match behind a season-high 63 kills. The wealth was spread evenly, as four Ichabods reached double-digits in kills on the night.
Erica Montgomery led the way with 18 kills. A pair of Maxwells fueled the charge as Makayla finished with 13 kills and Allison added 12. Genna Berg rounded out the quartet with 10 kills. The teamwork is indicative of the Ichabods' season thus far as Allison Maxwell, Montgomery, and Berg are all over 100 kills on the season.
For Makayla Maxwell, the senior middle hitter's night tied her season-high set just one week prior against Southwestern Oklahoma. She also added a match-high seven blocks, which was a new season-high. Good timing for Makayla to break out.
No ranking, no problem
Saturday's victory was the first time in 16 years that the Ichabods took down a top-10 foe as an unranked team. The last time Washburn pulled off the feat was on October 12, 2002. That day the Ichabods handed No. 6 North Alabama a loss.
It was also the second time that Washburn took down a No. 1 team in its program's history. The first came in stunning fashion deep in the NCAA tournament when the Ichabods eliminated Tampa in the quarterfinals on the DII Volleyball Championship. Not only was Tampa the No. 1 team in the land, the Spartans were the defending national champions.
Perfect so far
Washburn moves to 14-0 on the season, but more importantly a perfect 2-0 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. The Ichabods sit in a four-way logjam atop the MIAA standings with Northwest Missouri State, Pittsburg State, and Central Oklahoma. Not bad for the team projected to finish fifth in the conference.
Washburn last started this hot back in 2015. It reached a record of 13-0 when the Ichabods, then the No. 7 team in DII took down No. 14 UNK. Washburn was swept in three sets its next time out by Fort Hays State. Now with 14 wins, Washburn hosts long-time rival Emporia State this coming Tuesday. With this being the first Kansas Turnpike Battle of the season, you can be sure the 6-8 Hornets will be looking to enjoy the role of underdog, as Washburn is likely to creep up this week's top 25.