STANFORD, Calif. – Alyssa Cavanaugh worked to her 19th 15+ kill outing of the 2016 season, recording 17 kills in WKU Volleyball’s NCAA Tournament first-round match from the Maples Pavilion on Stanford’s campus. The Lady Toppers suffered their lone sweep of the season, falling to the Boise State Broncos who earned the Mountain West’s automatic bid into the NCAA bracket.
“This is a disappointing end to the season, but what can you say, this is the first time we’ve lost since Sept. 10,” head coach Travis Hudson stated. “It takes nothing away from the amazing group of kids I’ve had and the incredible season that they’ve had.”
In arguably one of the best NCAA first round matches this season, WKU and Boise State battled in a first set that saw 19 ties and five lead changes before the Broncos claimed a 28-26 decision. The Lady Toppers got on the board first with a quick 2-0 advantage but Boise State battled back. With five timeouts utilized in the frame, both sides were within two points of each other at each break. Cavanaugh led everyone with eight kills in the frame while Rachel Anderson chipped in five.
Boise State marks just the sixth opponent able to take a 1-0 lead in a match over the Lady Toppers this season.
WKU Volleyball entered unchartered territory as it dropped the second set to Boise State 25-22. The Lady Toppers had not trailed 0-2 in any match in 2016 until the NCAA Tournament first round matchup. After Boise State got on the board first, WKU fired back to take a 3-1 advantage. Boise State went on to take a 10-6 lead in the frame to force a WKU stoppage. Out of the break WKU worked back to within 17-19 and forced the Broncos to call for a break. A few points later, Jessica Lucas recorded her 4,000th career assist as Anderson found the floor with her ninth kill of the day.
Third set action wrapped up similarly to the open frame as the Lady Toppers owned a set point up 24-22 but the Broncos found a way back to clinch the match. WKU and Boise State changed leads seven times in the final set and were knotted on 15 occasions. WKU owned a slim 15-14 advantage at the media timeout and continued on to take a 21-20 lead late off of Anderson’s final kill. Boise State called for a stop down 24-22 and scored the next three points to turn the tables. Down 24-25, WKU took a timeout but after tying the set at 25-25 on the next point, the Boise State squad secured the match with the next two points.
Cavanaugh led the WKU squad with 17 kills on the day while Anderson chipped in 13 of her own. The pair put on a show as Anderson hit .500 on 22 swings and Cavanaugh worked at a .342 clip on 38 attacks.
Sydney Engle finished two kills shy of a double-double effort as the junior recorded eight kills in addition to leading the team with 14 digs. She was also one of four Lady Toppers with two or more blocks on the day.
After not tallying a kill in the opening set, Taylor Dellinger posted nine during the second and third sets of play to go along with five digs and four blocks.
Anderson led the WKU blocking effort with five tallies of her own; one solo stop as well as four block assists. Amara Listenbee added three stops of her own.
The WKU offense recorded a .287 hitting percentage in the match along with 51 kills, registering better numbers than Boise State in both categories.
Lucas finished with 41 assists in the three-set match to go along nine digs, three kills and a block assist.
Kaelin Grimes recorded the second-most digs for WKU with 11 while her fellow senior, Georgia O’Connell, finished with 10.
“What careers they’ve had,” Hudson said of his pair of seniors. “As good of careers they’ve had, they’re better kids. I’ve never had any issues with either of them on or off the court; they represented our university in the right way.”
From the service line, the Lady Toppers went without an ace in the match. This marks the only match in 2016 that WKU did not record a service ace.
WKU Volleyball is now 2-9 all-time in NCAA Tournament matches including a 1-2 record at Stanford. The 2016 squad wrapped up the season with a 30-3 overall record after winning both the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles. Three losses ties the fewest losses by a WKU squad in program history as the Lady Toppers conclude their third-consecutive 30-win season. WKU has won 30 or more matches in six of the past seven seasons.
The 2016 WKU Volleyball season is being presented by the United States Marines. This season, the Marines and WKU Athletics are working together to promote the outstanding athletic and academic achievements of our female student-athletes. The Marines are proud to work with and support these future leaders of America.
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.