Memphis, TN, 9/10/21 – The Blue Jays volleyball team bounced back from a tough five set loss in the Rhodes College Classic opener to win their second game 3-2 (25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 15-8) over the previously undefeated Austin College Roos. The Jays got a record setting performance from junior outside hitter Eryka Wanyonyi (Columbia, MO / Hickman) who recorded 30 kills. The 30 kills is a single match school record that has stood since 1995. The record of 28 kills was set by Brenna Seboldt in a five-set win over Webster University on October 24, 1995.
The Blue Jays raced to a 2-0 set lead behind strong hitting from Wanyonyi and Junior outside hitter Haley Menke (O'Fallon, MO / Fort Zumwalt West). At one point in the second set the Blue Jays, who were down 11-6, went on an 11-1 run powered by four Wanyonyi kills to seize control of the set 17-12. They would cruise to a 25-18 set two win and a 2-0 lead.
Austin College would then show why they were undefeated coming into the match by rallying in set three to clip the Jays 25-23. In set number four the Blue Jays had a run put on them by the Roos. With Westminster leading 23-18, after back to back kills by Menke off of senior setter Gretchen Durbala (Burlington, IA / Burlington) assists, The Roos would score the final seven points of the set to stun the Blue Jays and force a fifth and deciding set.
The fifth set was tight with Westminster holding onto a 6-5 lead when the Blue Jays would go on another run, this time a 6-0 run, to take control at 12-5. The run was a group effort, kills by sophomore right side hitter Emma Geier (Versailles, MO / Morgan County R2), Menke and Wanyonyi. Senior libero Erica Schrader (Imperial, MO / St. Pius X) would chip in a service ace and the Jays were in control and when junior setter Kate Rable (St. Peters, MO / Fort Zumwalt South) aced the Roos for the 15th point and the Blue Jays took the fifth set 15-13 and the match 3-2.
Wanyonyi led the Jays with her 30 record kills and was followed by Menke with 20 kills. Durbala recorded 49 assists. Schrader once again anchored the defense with 25 digs. She was followed by Wanyonyi with 21 digs, 12 from Menke and 10 from Durbala. That would give each of them a double double. Menke led the Jays with three service aces.
Head Coach Dalton Tucker said, "I feel great about the way we bounced back from the first game. This was a quality win over a quality opponent." He added, "It was an amazing performance by Eryka today. I'm proud of her accomplishment. Achieving 30 kills to break a 26 year old record is outstanding enough, but then you see she also had 23 digs, that is ridiculous! I look forward to see how our team continues to progress in the tournament.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Saturday as they take on the host Rhodes College Lynx at 11:00 a.m. followed by a match against Texas Lutheran University at 1:00 p.m. that will conclude the tournament.