BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – While WKU Volleyball’s straight-sets streak came to an end at
30, the team continued its winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Marshall Friday
night from Diddle Arena. The Lady Toppers were led by Rachel Anderson’s 17 kills, a
Jessica Lucas double-double and three players with double-digit digs as the squad
won its 20th-consecutive match – the second-longest streak in the nation.
“We came out and defended well early, but a lot of credit has to go to Marshall for
the way they defended us,” head coach Travis Hudson shared. “We’re one of the best
offensive teams in the country and they did a great job defending us and gave us a
lot of problems tonight. We’re lucky to win and certainly we did it through
“We had a great crowd in here tonight,” Hudson continued. The end of that third set
got kind of rowdy and I thought our fans gave us great energy from that point
With the victory, the Red and White are now 24-2 on the year and sit at 10-0 in
conference play. Additionally, the win secured Hudson’s squad a spot in the 2017
Conference USA Volleyball Championships, which will be hosted in Bowling Green next
month. Against league foes, WKU Volleyball has now won its last 35 matches,
extending to 51-straight matches at home against conference opposition.
Marshall dropped to 9-15 overall and 4-5 in C-USA play with the loss.
“I think KJ [Kayland Jackson] went up and smashed that ball [in the third set] and
this place got so loud – I haven’t heard it that loud in so long,” Lucas said of the
Diddle Arena crowd. “I don’t know if our fans realize how much they mean to us, but
it’s incredible having that home-court advantage with the fans being that loud so
thank you all.”
WKU got on the board first to open weekend play as Anderson found the floor for the
first of her match-high 17 kills. Marshall retaliated and tied things up at 1-1 and
11-11, but WKU led the set at all other points in the set. Following the 11-11 knot,
the Lady Toppers strung together three points to create separation that would hold
the rest of the way. Sydney Engle, Emma Kowalkowski and Sophia Cerino each
registered an ace in the 25-17 set one win for the Lady Toppers while the Red and
White’s defense held the Thundering Herd to a -.029 hitting clip.
In the next frame, WKU jumped ahead to a 3-0 lead thanks to a Lucas kill and ace
followed by Anderson’s fourth kill of the match. Marshall tied things up on three
occasions with the final coming at 10-10 before the hosts put together a four-point
run off the serve of Lucas. WKU’s lead grew to six after a Kayland Jackson kill to
make it 18-12 before Marshall called for its second stoppage trailing 19-13. Behind
Engle’s serve, the Lady Toppers put together another run to push the lead to nine
before Maggie Singleton closed the set with a kill to make the score 25-18. Lucas,
Engle and Cerino again added service aces in the set while Anderson paced WKU with
five kills in the frame. The team notched 16 collective digs in the set with Darby
Music, Engle, Kowalkowski and Jackson each tallying three.
With the second-set win, WKU extended its straight-set streak to 30 on the year,
dating back to the Conference USA opener at Florida Atlantic.
Marshall would ultimately end the streak, claiming set three 25-22. The Lady Toppers
tied things up at 10-10 and 11-11 but Marshall led the rest of the way to avoid the
straight-set sweep. The Thundering Herd used a team-best .250 hitting clip in set
three in combination with three service aces to get the win. For the Lady Toppers,
Anderson tallied four more kills while Jackson posted five.
WKU came back strong in set four and led the Thundering Herd from start to finish.
Anderson put the Lady Toppers on the board with a kill to open the set and two
points later notched a solo block for a 3-0 WKU advantage. The Red and White pushed
ahead to an 8-3 lead, forcing a Marshall timeout. The Thundering Herd hung around
through the middle of the set before separation began to grow with WKU up 17-11. WKU
was the first to 20 by a six-point margin before scoring the final four points of
the match to close the book with a 25-16 victory. The Lady Toppers fired off 17
kills in the final set while limiting the visitors to just eight for the difference.
Lucas recorded her sixth double-double showing of the season with 43 assists and 13
digs to go along with five kills, two block assists and a service ace.
Two more Lady Toppers tallied double-digit digs on the night as Engle led the match
with 16 and Music posted 13 as well. With 70 collective digs, WKU registered its
second-highest dig total on the year behind 76 at Miami (OH) opening weekend. The
strong defensive effort held Marshall to a .097 hitting percentage on the night as
the Thundering Herd became the fifth team held to a sub-.100 hitting effort by WKU
Offensively, Anderson led the way with 17 of the squad’s 51 kills while adding four
blocks and a dig in addition to her .419 hitting clip. On a quiet night, Alyssa
Cavanaugh still battled to double-digit kills with 10 to go along with four digs.
Jackson finished with eight kills on the match while working at a .333 clip.
Engle added to her 16 digs with six assists, five kills, two aces and two block
assists for another solid all-around effort.
Kowalkowski finished with nine digs on the night while Hallie Shelton chipped in six.
The match saw seven total ties, but zero lead changes as the team to strike first in
each set went on to win the frame.
How to Follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Volleyball, follow
the team on Twitter at @WKUVolleyball and head coach Travis Hudson at @TravisHudsonWKU.