Sep 14, 2023

Coyote Women's Volleyball opens KCAC Play with sweep of Sterling

Posted Sep 14, 2023 2:50 PM

Kansas Wesleyan coach Jessica Biegert wasn't sure what the Sterling College Warriors would bring to the table as the Coyotes met the Warriors in Wednesday's KCAC opener at Mabee Arena.

Sterling entered Wednesday's match with a 7-2 record, but the Coyotes quickly put away any reservations about the Warrior squad in the straight set sweep 25-18, 25-12, 25-21.

"Sterling's a solid team, they have a COVID senior that brought a lot of experience and was a good player for them last year, and we were expecting them to lean on her with the experience that she has, and they tried to be aggressive with her and got her the ball a lot tonight," Biegert said.

Wesleyan outside hitter Kylee Harris concurred.

"Sterling's a scrappy team, but we came in and played our game, and got the win," Harris said.

Harris finished with 12 kills while hitting .308 in the match. The Coyotes hit .280 as a team, including .375 in the dominating second set.

"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive at the net and make smart plays for my team," Harris said. "Jose (Deckinger, KWU setter) was wonderful tonight and did a great job of getting me the ball to be able to put it away."

Wesleyan finished with 43 kills on the night, averaging over 14 per set, and only got blocked once, a welcome change according to Biegert.

"It was a relief for us tonight, because we are the team usually getting blocked," she said. "It was fun to switch roles a little bit and be aggressive and take their really good middle out of the game, and I feel like we did that by swinging aggressive and serving aggressively."

Serving was also key for the Coyotes, as KWU tallied 13 service aces, that came in bunches.

"Our game plan was to serve aggressively to get them out of system, but they went above and beyond helping us out with a bunch of receiving errors," Biegert said. "Aces are a big momentum builder for us, so it was fun to get a bunch tonight."

Wesleyan broke a 2-2 tie in the opening set with a 5-0 run, that included three aces from Sarah Girard.

Sterling made it interesting at 15-13 in the set, but the Coyotes pulled out to a 21-16 lead on a kill by Deckinger.

KWU led 22-18 when the Coyotes capitalized on a Sterling service error, and an ace from Deckinger before Rylee Serpan's kill closed the first set.

Serpan led the Coyotes with 13 kills and hit an impressive .407 for the match.

The Coyotes trailed 2-1 in the second set, but a run of three straight aces served by Kori Arnold gave the Coyotes the lead at 4-2. Wesleyan quickly pushed the lead out to 14-6 after two aces and a kill by Serpan. Arnold recorded her fourth ace of the set to close it out 25-12 in favor of the Coyotes.

KWU (9-7, 1-0) led 7-4 in the third set but couldn't shake free from the Warriors. Sterling got back within one at 11-10 before two points on a Sterling handling error and a kill by freshman Gianna Adriaanse gave KWU a 13-10 lead.

Leading 17-14, the Coyotes finally pulled away, out to a 24-18 lead on another kill by Adriaanse before Sterling made a little run to make it 24-21. Serpan ended the suspense with her team-best 13th kill of the night to close out the match.

Deckinger had 31 assists and six digs for the Coyotes. Kelcey Hund had 16 digs. Serpan (13) and Harris (12) paced the Coyote offense in kills, while Adriaanse added eight. Kyla Moore had three blocks in the match.

Wesleyan steps back out of conference this weekend, playing in a quadrangular hosted by Ottawa University on Saturday in Ottawa. Wesleyan plays No. 12 Bellevue at 11 a.m., then takes on an upstart William Woods team at 3 p.m.

"It'll be another tough weekend for us, playing No. 12 Bellevue (Neb.) and William Woods who is 11-1 right now, but playing this tough out of conference schedule helps us in conference as we prepare for our second match with McPherson."

The Coyotes return home next Wednesday to host McPherson College at Mabee Arena.