SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri State dropped a 25-22, 25-12, 25-22 decision to Wichita State Thursday evening in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Championship at Hammons Student Center in Springfield.
The sixth-seeded Bears saw their season end with a 16-15 record, while the No. 3 Shockers improved to 21-8 and advanced to Friday's semifinal against second-seeded UNI. Illinois State, the No. 5 seed, swept Southern Illinois in the day's first match to set up a showdown with 21st-ranked and top-seeded Creighton.
The Shockers got off to a 9-5 lead in the first period before the Bears fought back for a 9-9 tie. MSU tied three more times and took leads of 16-15 and 17-16 on Carly Thomas kills. WSU used a 4-0 run to turn an 18-17 deficit into a 21-18 lead, and the teams sided out to the end of the set with the Shockers hitting .364 to MSU's .333.
The Bears fell in an early hole in the second set, trailing by double digits as early as 13-3. Missouri State closed to within seven points at 17-10, but the Shockers answered with a 3-0 run to put things out of reach. WSU hit .324 while keeping MSU to eight kills against nine errors.
Missouri State used two blocks for a 3-1 lead in the third set before the visitors went ahead 7-4 and led by at least two points until a 3-0 MSU run made it 21-20. The Shockers countered with two straight points and held on for the sweep.
WSU hit .314 in the match compared to .150 for the Bears. The Shockers led 45-36 in kills, 5-1 in aces and 8-7 in blocks, while Missouri State led 43-42 in total digs.
Sophomore Olivia Brand paced the Bears with nine kills, and senior Shelby Strang had eight digs and served as MSU's libero in the final set of her collegiate career. For Wichita State, Elizabeth Field had 12 kills and Ashley Andrade added 11, both hitting above .400.