BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – In a rematch of the 2017 Conference USA Championship, WKU
Volleyball fell to North Texas by a line of 25-16, 25-22, 25-23. With the loss, the
Hilltoppers now go to 14-9 overall and 5-3 in Conference USA action. North Texas
improve to 9-15 and 5-3 in conference.
“We’re both a lot alike, we were the two elite teams in the league last year and
each lost a lot to graduation and are playing a lot of young kids,” head coach
Travis Hudson said of WKU and North Texas. “Andrew has his young kids playing better
than I have our young kids playing right now, and you know we both have rough
stretches in our season. His kids played really well tonight and deserved to win the
WKU opened the evening with a quick 3-0 lead after a Sophia Cerino kill and
back-to-back service aces from Taylor Bebout but North Texas responded and had the
set tied at 6-6. The Mean Green worked their way out of reach thanks to a 5-1 run
down the stretch and ended up winning the first set 25-16.
North Texas reciprocated the quick 3-0 advantage in the second frame but WKU
answered right back and was the first to double digits at 10-9, forcing a Mean Green
timeout. Both sides battled back and forth throughout the set with 12 ties and four
lead changes recorded but it would be North Texas ahead for good after a 19-19 tie.
Trailing 2-0 out of the intermission, WKU Volleyball would be the first to double
digits in the third set – leading 10-6 to force a North Texas stoppage. From there,
the Lady Toppers pushed ahead to a 15-10 and 19-14 lead before the visitors began to
work their way back. North Texas pieced together a 4-0 run to pull within one at
21-20 before WKU would call for a timeout. Kayland Jackson answered for the Lady
Toppers out of the break with a kill before North Texas would tally back-to-back
points to tie it up at 22-22. Jackson struck again for a 23-22 advantage but North
Texas closed out the match on a 3-0 run to pick up its first sweep of the Red and
White since the 2008 campaign.
Rachel Anderson posted a match-high 12 kills on a .320 hitting clip. Jackson
finished with eight kills while Cerino added seven. Collectively, WKU led North
Texas in the kill column 41-36 but the Mean Green owned the hitting percentage
advantage at .337 – .158.
Taylor Bebout filled the statsheet for the Lady Toppers, recording 33 assists, four
digs, four kills and three digs.
“I thought Taylor Bebout set a pretty nice match for us tonight I thought she did
some good things, Sophia Cerino is a kid that’s really shown up and played
aggressively for us all year,” Hudson added. “You know we are just struggling, no
reason to sugar coat it right now were struggling right now. We’ve got seven matches
left to find ourselves a little bit.”
Payton Frederick notched double-digit digs for the 12th-consecutive match. Darby
Music chipped in eight digs as well.
Across just three sets, the match saw 17 ties and six lead changes.
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WKU Volleyball will be back in action next Friday as the squad heads west to Texas.
On Friday evening, the Red and White will visit UTEP for a 6 p.m. CT match before
closing the trip at UTSA on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
* WKU is now 20-3 all-time against North Texas dating back to 2000. Two of
those losses have come during the Lady Toppers’ C-USA membership.
* The Lady Toppers are now 5-3 in three-set matches on the 2018 season.
* Rachel Anderson led WKU with 12 kills marking the 16th match she’s led the
squad in the category.
* Payton Frederick notched double-digit digs for the 12th-consecutive match.