No matter what happened on Friday night in Austin, Texas, the Wichita State volleyball team had already made history. The question was, how many more chapters were left to be written.
The challenge was big. Southern Cal is the number 4 ranked team in the country, but Wichita State was not intimidated.
In fact, the slow starting Lady Shockers actually grabbed the first point of the night, thanks to a kill by Elisabeth Field.
By the time the set hit 5-3 it was USC with the lead. But the Shockers tied it at five on a solo block from Emily Adney. The Shocks went up 9-7 on a kill by Sam Sanders, but a kill by Katie Fuller tied the score at nine. The Shocks would lead 19-18 but the Lady Trojans 7 of the final 8 points to take set one 25-20.
"We've been in that posstion so many times this year," said Field. "Losing that first set we thought, alright we kind of know what they are doing, we understand them a little better. Let's just try and come out in the second."The Trojans pounced on set two, taking a 5-0 lead. They used their size and strength to frustrate WSU and take them out of their game and the lead grew to 10-4 on a kill from Alicia Ogoms. Wichita State showed grit and got as close as 4 points on a kill by Ashlyn Driskill, but they didn't have enough and the Trojans went on to win the set 25-19.
"You can't necessarily prepare for the height, you have what you have in the gym," said senior Jackie Church. "We can simulate it as much as we want, but when you lace it up and put your jersey on, it's going to be different."
Two kills from Katie Reilly gave WSU an early 3-2 lead in the third set, but the Trojans came back to take a 6-5 lead on a service ace. A kill by Sara Shaw increased the lead to 9-6 and the Trojans started pulling away as an Ogoms kill made it 18-11. USC won the set 25-17.
"The Wichita State team is an extreamly good team," said USC head coach Mick Haley. "We did a great job on them tonight, they normally play much much better than this. I like to think we had a little bit to do with it, but this a good team we beat tonight."
WSU head coach Chris Lamb said he was proud of his teams effort and the fact they were not intimidated.
"I saw a bunch of girls out there that were excited to be there, they let it all hang out," said Lamb. "And they gave it a nice shot."
Driskill led the Shockers with seven kills, while Field had six kills. Chelsey Feekin had 22 assists and Kelsey Banwart and Church each had eight digs.
The Shockers finish the season 24-10 after making their first Sweet Sixteen appearance in school history.
"You know hats off to us and hats off to our season," said Church. "This doesn't happen just one weekend. It happens with years and years of preparation, days and days of preparation. This a time when we get a chance and we took advantage about as much as we could."