4 WKU volleyball players chosen for all-conference teams

Freshman Paige Briggs (1) plays defense as she jumps and attack the ball against two Miners during the Lady Toppers’ game vs. UTEP in Diddle Arena on Nov. 1st, 2019. WKU won 3-0.

Kaden Gaylord

The WKU volleyball team (28-1, 14-0 C-USA) racked up postseason honors from Conference USA on Wednesday, as the league office announced that four Lady Toppers were all-conference selections.

Freshman Paige Briggs, junior transfer Nadia Dieudonne and sophomore Lauren Matthews each found themselves on the all-conference first team, while senior Sophia Cerino made the all-conference second team for the second straight season.

Briggs also earned a spot on the league’s all-freshman team.

WKU led C-USA with three first-team honorees, while its four total all-conference nominations rank second behind Rice’s five.

This is the first time the Lady Topper program has earned three all-conference first team selections since 2017. 

In six seasons in C-USA, WKU has had a trio of first team award winners five times. Across those six seasons, WKU has seen 24 total all-conference recognitions, with 15 being on the first team.

Briggs made an immediate impact for the Lady Toppers and C-USA took notice by handing the Ortonville, Michigan, native two awards. 

Briggs racked up 14 double-doubles during the regular season while being tabbed the C-USA Freshman of the Week seven times.

She started all 99 sets this season and racked up 326 kills and 305 digs across the season while working at a .290 hitting clip. In C-USA matches, she posted a .312 hitting clip with 156 kills and 124 digs.

In her first season on the Hill, Dieudonne earned the first all-conference nomination of her collegiate career.

She earned six C-USA Setter of the Week honors while facilitating the Lady Toppers to a collective .299 hitting percentage. 

Dieudonne registered 1,085 assists through the regular season along with 230 digs, 81 kills and 36 block assists – all career-highs.

The Louisville native averaged 10.96 assists per set overall and climbed to 11.28 per set in C-USA matches. Dieudonne posted seven double-double performances during the regular season.

After earning an all-freshman team nod last season, Matthews earned all-conference first team status in 2019.

The Indianapolis native leads C-USA and ranks second in the NCAA with a .454 hitting percentage this season.

In league matches, Matthews worked at a .483 mark. She posted 399 kills throughout the regular season.

Matthews has also been a force to be reckoned with at the net defensively, tallying 119 blocks for a 1.20 blocks per set this season. She owns 32 solo blocks and 87 block assists. 

She was named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week on four occasions during the regular season after earning a spot on the league’s preseason all-conference team back in August.

After earning All-Academic Team honors on Tuesday, Cerino also earned all-conference second team recognition.

The NCAA volleyball aces and aces per set leader, Cerino has been lethal from the service line by striking for 73 aces so far.

The senior already owns WKU’s single-season ace record and currently sits third on the career list.

She tallied 191 kills through the regular season to go along with 66 blocks. Over the course of the season, Cerino was recognized as a preseason all-conference selection, the league’s Defensive Player of the Week once and a WKU Invite all-tournament team honoree.

No. 19 WKU spent the final six weeks of the regular season ranked in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll and enters the postseason on a 24-match winning streak that dates back to Sept. 6.

First-seeded WKU will meet eighth-seeded Middle Tennessee State (13-16, 6-8 C-USA) in the quarterfinals on Friday at noon.

The C-USA Tournament will be streamed live for ESPN+ subscribers.

Reporter Kaden Gaylord can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Kaden on Twitter at @_KLG3.