There were tears when Wichita State was announced Sunday as a first-time host for the opening two rounds of the NCAA volleyball tournament.
Six seniors will play their final home matches in an NCAA atmosphere. Coach Chris Lamb’s 18 seasons of building, knocking over barrier and barrier, has reached a point where NCAA Tournament opponents are coming to Koch Arena for the first time.
Lamb’s Shockers (28-3) received the respect they deserved and are the 16th seed nationally. Radford is their first-round opponent Friday night.
“I held it together on senior night, but I actually shed a couple of tears when it (was announced),” WSU senior Mikaela Raudsepp said.
What makes Friday’s opening round that much more fun is a first-round Border War matchup between Kansas (22-7) and Missouri (20-11). The longtime Big Eight and Big 12 rivals parted ways when Mizzou left for the Southeastern Conference in 2012, though KU beat MU in the first round of the 2015 tournament.
A first-round win by the Shockers would bring a second-round match against KU or Mizzou with WSU’s second Sweet 16 berth at stake.