BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Behind a single-match school-record .549 team hitting
percentage, WKU Volleyball swept its fifth straight match claiming a 3-0
non-conference victory over visiting Austin Peay from Diddle Arena. Dating back to
Sept. 22, at Florida Atlantic, WKU has won 16-consecutive sets and now owns a
15-match winning streak – the second longest in the nation.
WKU’s .549 team hitting percentage also reached national highs, tying the third-best
three-set match team clip across the nation this season. The rate also ranks third
across all matches. Austin Peay hit a collective .200 on the match.
“I thought that we handled the ball really well tonight on first contact and when
you do that and have an All-American setter, you’ll put yourself in a pretty good
position to score and we did that for most of the night,” Travis Hudson opened. “We
always pride ourselves with being able to come at teams from multiple positions.
There have been times this year when Alyssa’s had to carry us, or Rachel, but when
we’re really unstoppable is when we can come at teams from everywhere and tonight
was one of those nights.”
The Lady Toppers climbed to 19-2 on the season with the midweek straight-set victory
and will finish the regular season non-conference slate with a 14-2 record.
Additionally, the Red and White are now 8-0 in the friendly confines of Diddle Arena
and have won their last 16 matches at home dating back to last season.
Austin Peay moved to 17-4 on the season with its second-straight loss. The Lady Govs
came in at No. 65 in the latest RPI poll and mark the sixth top-100 rated RPI squad
the Lady Toppers have taken down this non-conference season.
Tuesday night action opened with Austin Peay getting on the board first before the
sides traded points to an even 4-4 when Rachel Anderson found the floor for one of
her match-high 13 kills followed by a Jessica Lucas ace for a quick two-point
advantage. WKU would go on to claim 10-of-13 points during a stretch in the heart of
the set to open up an 18-9 lead. APSU fought back within four points at 22-18 but
the Lady Toppers powered through to secure the 25-20 first-set victory behind a .667
team hitting percentage. Anderson and Alyssa Cavanaugh each notched five kills in
Set two also began with the Lady Govs getting on the scoreboard first. Neither side
owned a lead larger than two points until WKU took advantage of an APSU attack error
to open the margin to three at 14-11. Taylor Dellinger followed with one of her five
kills to force an Austin Peay timeout before Anderson added another strike out of
the stoppage to push the lead to five. WKU held a 20-13 lead following yet another
Anderson kill before Sophia Cerino checked in and served back-to-back aces to push
the lead to nine (22-13). Cavanaugh went on to make it set point with a solo block
before APSU closed the frame with an errant serve. WKU claimed the second frame
25-15 after a .650 team hitting clip in the set led by five Lucas kills. The Lady
Toppers were hitting a blistering .659 rate after two sets of play.
After the long break, the hosts got on the board first for the first time in the
match, gathering a quick two-point advantage. Austin Peay went on to score the next
four points and owned a lead in the set until the 8-8 juncture. WKU kept pulling
further away before the Lady Govs called for a stoppage trailing 17-12. The Lady
Toppers pushed their lead to seven with a block assist by Hallie Shelton and Amara
Listenbee before Sydney Engle followed with a kill to make the score 22-14. WKU went
on to win the third set just as they did the second, on an APSU service error. The
Lady Toppers worked at a .370 hitting clip in the final frame as Anderson found the
floor for four more kills.
All seven Lady Toppers with at least one attack in the match worked at a .294
hitting clip or better on the evening. Cavanaugh finished at .294 with seven kills
on 17 swings while Anderson led everyone with a career-high .800 clip and 13 kills.
Lucas filled the statsheet once again, tallying eight kills, 32 assists, six digs
and a service ace to go along with a .500 attack rate herself. The setter connected
with the WKU attackers for kills on better than 60 percent of her sets.
Engle was another Lady Topper with stats all over the sheet, racking up eight kill,
five assists, four digs, two blocks and a .600 hitting percentage.
While WKU out-dug Austin Peay by 10 on the night (30-20), while no Lady Topper
finished with double-digit digs. Libero Emma Kowalkowski notched a match-high seven
digs while Darby Music and Lucas each added six. Of all 13 Lady Toppers that saw
action, there were only four players to not record a dig in the match.
At the net, Cavanaugh registered a pair of solo blocks in addition to a block
assist. Her pair of solo stops moved her into sole possession of ninth place on the
program’s all-time list with 82. WKU racked up six blocks on the night to Austin
The non-conference finale between the top team from both the Ohio Valley Conference
and Conference USA saw 14 total tied scores and four different lead changes.
WKU will refocus on its remaining C-USA slate with a trip to UAB and FIU on the
docket for the upcoming weekend. The Friday-Sunday series will separate WKU’s pair
of four-match homestands.
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.