LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the second weekend in a row, WKU Volleyball faced the
tournament hosts for their home openers as Louisville outlasted the 24th-ranked Lady
Topper squad 3-1 from the newly renovated Cardinal Arena. After taking the opening
set 25-18 for its eight-consecutive set victory, the streak ended as Louisville
claimed the next three frames. The WKU squad is now 4-1 on the year.
“Tonight was a disappointing night for sure,” head coach Travis Hudson said of the
loss. “Louisville continued to get better and better as the night went along and we
did not. In big matches you need your veterans to step up and make plays and we
struggled with that tonight.”
WKU Volleyball wasted no time getting out ahead of the weekend hosts, jumping up
front with a 9-4 lead to force an early Louisville timeout. The Lady Toppers ran out
to a 15-10 advantage and then on to a 19-11 lead thanks to four-straight points to
force UofL’s second stoppage. WKU pushed ahead and ultimately took the first set
25-18 thanks in part to a balanced offensive attack that saw Jessica Lucas, Rachel
Anderson, Sydney Engle and Alyssa Cavanaugh each tally three kills in the frame.
Louisville bounced back in set two, jumping out to a 5-0 start to open the frame.
The Lady Toppers fought back and pulled within one at 10-11 but UofL scored the next
seven points to put the set out of reach. WKU worked back within four at 23-19 but
the Cardinals closed things up with a 25-19 second-set win to even the match up.
After scoring the first point following the long break, the Lady Toppers hung tight
with Louisville, forcing six early ties in the match with the final coming at 7-7
before the Cardinals scored four straight points to force a WKU timeout. Louisville
continued its tough attack and forced WKU’s second stoppage with the Red and White
trailing 15-8. The Lady Toppers again pulled within four late in the frame, but
couldn’t break through dropping the third set 25-15.
Playing a fourth set for just the second time of the 2017 campaign, WKU jumped ahead
to a slim two-point advantage and held on as far in as 9-7. Both sides battled and
knotted things up at 11-11 before Louisville went on to score of the next six
points. Trailing 16-12, WKU called a timeout and kept the margin at four to the
15-19 point before Louisville tallied another four-point run. The Cardinals put the
match away taking the fourth set 25-16.
Lucas registered her second double-double outing of the season as WKU faced its
first Power 5 conference opponent of the year. The senior finished the match with 35
assists to go along with 10 digs and eight kills.
Fellow senior Engle led the way for WKU on the night at the net with 10 kills and
three blocks, both team highs. Engle also chipped in five assists and five digs for
the Lady Toppers.
Cavanaugh and Anderson were both one kill back with nine each.
Emma Kowalkowski led the Lady Topper defense with 17 digs, her third 15+ dig showing
and fourth double-digit performance as the WKU libero. Darby Music matched her
season-best dig total with 11 on the match.
In total, the match saw 18 ties and five lead changes throughout.
The WKU offense was held to a .151 attack percentage on the match against UofL’s
.257 clip. The Lady Toppers recorded three more kills than Louisville at a 47-44
margin in addition to outdigging the Cardinals 47-39.
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.