TOPEKA, Kan. — On Saturday, Texas Woman’s finished play at the Washburn Invitational, splitting the final two matches of the weekend.
After dropping the first match of the day to Drury, 3-1, the Pioneers bounced back with a five-set victory over William Jewell.
“As a coach, winning in five tells you a lot about the maturity of your team” head coach Jeff Huebner said. “We showed it in that last match against a really tough William Jewell team.”
Dropping the first set, the Pioneers struggled during the late stages as they were outscored 8-1, falling 25-16. They responded with a 5-0 run to start Game 2, which ended with a resounding 25-9 score in their favor.
After splitting the next two games, the teams were deadlocked at 10-10 in the fifth and decisive set. A kill by Bailey Wozniak, followed by Katy Ranes’ fourth ace and a block by Tabitha Spray and Courtney Noel, the Pioneers seized momentum, taking the final game, 15-11, and the match.
Spray led the way with 14 kills while Noel added 13 and Trixie Oche with 11. Ranes added a match-high 30 assists to her 14 digs while Bailey French anchored the team defensively with 22 digs.
In the day’s first match, the Pioneers fell in the opening frame 25-23 before taking Set 2 against the Panthers. Down the stretch of the decisive fourth set, the teams traded points as Elizabeth Ugbaja connected on the Pioneers’ 24th point. Drury closed the door with two unanswered points, handing TWU its second loss of the season.
Freshman Addison Mulroney led the Pioneers with 11 kills while all-tournament team selection Bailey Wozniak collected six blocks and 16 assists. Ranes led the way with 18 assists of her own while French tallied 15 digs.
“After the weekend, we are in the best spot athletically that we have been in since I’ve been here,” Huebner said. “We have places where we need to clean up our execution, but the pieces are there to have a really special season.”
Next Friday, the Pioneers will open the home schedule with the opening game of the Pioneer Invitational at 10 a.m. against Henderson State.