MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Four different Lady Toppers registered at least eight kills
with Kayland Jackson recording a match-high 11 as WKU Volleyball took down Middle
Tennessee in four sets on Sunday afternoon. The Red and White claimed the victory
with set scores of 25-21, 25-13, 20-25 and 25-16 from Murfreesboro, Tenn.
“We’re still trying to find that level of consistency; we played really well at
times and really poorly at times and that’s not a good way to approach a road
match,” head coach Travis Hudson opened. “Chuck’s team plays so hard all the time
that you know that any moment you take your foot off the gas could be problematic.”
With the victory, the Lady Toppers improved to 14-6 overall and 5-1 in Conference
USA action. MTSU dropped to 5-13 and 0-5 on the year with the loss.
In the opening set from Alumni Memorial Gym, WKU trailed to the hosts by a 12-7
margin early on. Out of a Lady Topper timeout, Rachel Anderson and Taylor Bebout
teamed up for a block as the Red and White began to chip away at the deficit.
Shortly after, WKU pieced together a 10-1 run to open up a 20-16 advantage. Play
stayed even from there as the Lady Toppers claimed a 25-21 first-set victory.
Set two opened with a 4-0 WKU run before the Blue Raiders got on the board. The Lady
Toppers stayed hot and pushed their advantage to a 13-5 margin following another
four-point push. MTSU pulled back within six at 19-13 but WKU finished strong with a
6-0 run for the 25-13 second-set victory.
Following the break, Middle Tennessee was the first to double digits, leading 10-7.
WKU rallied back and took a late lead at 18-15 but the hosts responded again. MTSU
closed the frame on a 10-2 run to claim its first set off WKU in three seasons.
In the fourth set, MTSU opened with a quick 3-0 run before WKU responded to knot it
up. That run would be the start of an 11-2 run for an 11-5 Lady Topper advantage.
The Blue Raiders wouldn’t go away though as they pulled back within two at 14-12.
Out of a WKU-called timeout, the Lady Toppers went to work, stringing together a 5-0
run to put the set out of reach. The Red and White closed the match with
back-to-back kills from freshmen Katie Isenbarger and Lauren Matthews.
Jackson worked at an efficient .429 clip with 11 kills on 21 swings. Rachel Anderson
finished with nine kills off 17 attacks for a .353 hitting mark. Sophia Cerino added
eight kills and four blocks while Matthews finished with eight kills, seven blocks
and three digs.
“KJ’s playing on the right side for us now after playing on the left for most of the
year and she’s still trying to get a level of comfort over there,” Hudson shared.
“We’ve seen stretches of brilliance over there and we’re thinking that is her
Mary Martin and Taylor Bebout shared setting duties again. Bebout finished with 18
assists in the start while Martin took over down the stretch and finished with 14
WKU finished with 11 combined blocks in the outing – its fourth double-digit block
outing of the season and second straight.
Defensively, Payton Frederick racked up a match-high 16 digs to lead WKU in the
category for the 10th time this season. Frederick has posted seven outings of 15 or
more digs on her debut season.
“We just continue to find a way to win; we certainly don’t feel like we’re playing
very good volleyball right now,” Hudson continued. It seems like every season has a
lull in the middle somewhere and you just have to fight your way through it and if
you can win some matches on the road in Conference USA in the midst of that, then
it’s something you feel pretty good about.”
The Lady Topper squad has a light weekend ahead with just one tilt on the schedule.
UAB is slated to visit The Hill on Friday night for a 6 p.m. CT match.
* WKU improved to 47-16 all-time against Middle Tennessee with the victory. MTSU
grabbed a set off the Lady Toppers for the first time since Oct. 4, 2015.
* Run of the match: An 11-2 run early in the fourth set. MTSU jumped out to a
quick 3-0 lead in set four but WKU quickly responded by scoring 11 of the next 13
points to take control.
* The Lady Toppers notched a double-digit block effort (11) for the fourth
time this season and second-straight match after posting 13 at Marshall.
* Lauren Matthews registered seven blocks for the second-straight match and
third time overall this season.
* Payton Frederick owned a match-high 16 digs to lead WKU in the category for
the 10th time this season. She now owns seven outings with 15+ digs this season.
* Kayland Jackson posted a match-high 11 kills on a .429 hitting clip. She’s
now led WKU in kills twice this season.