By Jack Bell, Sports Editor
The Western Illinois Volleyball (4-19, 0-11) team returns back to Western Hall for a two game home-stand. WIU is coming off a road trip to North Dakota that featured matchups with the North Dakota State Bison and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Western dropped both matches, and their losing streak currently sits at 14. Newcomer Hailey Sperling led the team with 14 kills during the road trip, while Sophomores Karli Wenzel and Brittany Wulf continued to add to their successful seasons. Wulf and Wenzel currently sit as one and two, respectively, in aces per set in the Summit League. Wenzel leads the team with 308 digs, averaging just over 4 digs per set while Wulf leads the team with 228 kills, averaging just over 3 kills per set.
The Leathernecks will host the Denver Pioneers (13-8, 7-4) and the Omaha Mavericks (13-9, 8-3). Denver currently sits in 5th in the Summit League, a half game back of North Dakota. Denver is 6-4 over their last 10 games and defeated the Leathernecks on October 1 in three sets (25-16, 25-18, 25-8). Memphis Glasgow led the way for the Pioneers in the game with 9 kills, while Wulf added 12 for WIU. The match is set to get under way at 6pm on Thursday.
The second match of the week will be on Saturday against the Mavericks. Omaha defeated Western back on September 29 in three sets (25-20, 25-16, 25-23). Omaha has been on a tear lately, they have won 8 of their last 10 and are currently third in the conference, a half game back of North Dakota State. Omaha had three players in double figures in terms of kills in the first meeting including 17 for Shayla McCormick. Brittany Wulf led WIU with 16 kills, while also adding 8 digs. The match is set to get underway at noon on Saturday.
Western Illinois is still dealing with injuries and have just 7 games to go in the season. They are going to need Wulf and Wenzel to continue to do what they have been doing all season, along with a few others to set up and be playmakers to get things heading in the right direction.