BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Volleyball moved to 3-0 in Conference USA matchups with a
five-set victory over Southern Miss Thursday night. The Lady Toppers improved to
12-5 overall while the Golden Eagles dropped to 7-9 (1-2 C-USA) as Rachel Anderson
led the way with 17 kills and a .424 hitting percentage.
“It wasn’t pretty tonight, but our kids fought hard and found a way to win this
one,” head coach Travis Hudson shared. “I thought Rachel Anderson really stepped up
and made some big plays for us as you would hope a preseason Player of the Year
The first set from Hattiesburg saw just one lead change and two ties: 1-1 and 21-21.
After trailing for a majority of the set, WKU strung together a 7-0 run and extended
it to a 9-2 stretch to close the frame despite trailing 20-15 at one point. The Lady
Toppers ultimately claimed the set 25-23.
Southern Miss went on to even the match at 1-1 with a 25-16 second-set victory.
Out of the break, WKU opened a quick 13-7 advantage with a 6-0 run leading into a
Southern Miss timeout. The Lady Toppers worked ahead to a 20-13 lead to force a
Golden Eagle timeout. Emma Kowalkowski found the floor for aces on both sides of the
stoppage before WKU closed out the 25-17 victory.
WKU was the first to double digits in set four after breaking a 9-9 tie. Southern
Miss fought back to take the lead and forced the Red and White to call a timeout
trailing 20-18. The Golden Eagles were able to hang on to win the set 25-22 and
force a decisive fifth set. Fourth set action saw nine ties and five lead changes,
both match highs.
Entering the night, WKU was a perfect 3-0 in five set matches this season and that’s
how the squad would leave Hattiesburg as well. After WKU struck first in the final
frame, Southern Miss responded but the Lady Toppers laid down five of the next six
points to pull away. Anderson and Lauren Matthews teamed up for a pair of
back-to-back block assists in the set while combining for five kills without error
on eight swings. WKU claimed the victory with a 15-11 fifth-set victory.
WKU Volleyball is now 4-0 when playing five sets in a match. The Lady Toppers saw
three players notch double-digit kills as Anderson (17), Kayland Jackson (11) and
Matthews (10) posted big numbers. Matthews and Jackson led the Red and White with
four blocks apiece while Anderson added three.
Anderson did damage from the service line as well, notching three aces without an
error. She also added six digs on the night.
Kowalkowski racked up four aces to lead WKU in the category along with eight digs.
Payton Frederick led the way with 22 digs for her second 20-plus dig showing of the
Mary Martin took over setting duties midway through the match and finished with 30
assists on the night. She added two kills and two digs to help WKU to its fifth
WKU Volleyball is headed back to The Hill for a Sunday showdown with Rice. The Owls
were picked to finish second in the C-USA preseason poll. First serve will go up at
noon CT from Diddle Arena.
* Run of the match: A 9-2 run to close the first set. WKU trailed 21-16 as
the set wore on but finished strong to claim a 1-0 lead in the match.
* Rachel Anderson posted 17 kills, her third performance of 17 or better over
the last four matches. She worked at a .424 hitting clip. Anderson has now led WKU
in kills in 12 matches this season.
* Kayland Jackson’s 11-kill effort was her fourth double-digit kill showing
of the season. Jackson’s four-block performance was her first time leading the team
in any category this season.
* Payton Frederick finished with a team-high 22 digs. She has now led WKU in
digs each of the last five matches and eight times total on the year.
* WKU Volleyball has had more digs than its opposition in 13 matches this
season while tying its opponent’s output in another match. The Lady Toppers have
out-dug their counterparts each of their last six times out.
* WKU is now 4-0 in five-set matches in 2018.