WKU volleyball ranked No. 24, 2 players collect C-USA weekly honors

Head coach Travis Hudson yells to his team to make an adjustment before they receive the serve.

Kaden Gaylord

The WKU volleyball team (19-1, 5-0 C-USA) accumulated several honors on Monday afternoon, as the Lady Toppers were ranked No. 24 in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll after receiving votes for four weeks and two key contributors received weekly awards from Conference USA.

Sophomore Lauren Matthews was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season, while junior Logan Kael earned Defensive Player of the Week recognition for the first time.

No. 24 WKU earned both individual and team accolades after the Lady Toppers set a new record for the best start in program history by defeating Florida Atlantic (9-7, 3-2 C-USA) and Florida International (9-7, 2-3 C-USA) on the road over the weekend.

“We’re not accidentally where we are,” head coach Travis Hudson said in a video posted Monday. “We’re there because we’ve been very intentional since January about what we wanted this to look like.”

The Lady Toppers are currently on a 15-game winning streak and have notched an NCAA-best 13 sweeps this season. WKU also has the second-best winning percentage in the nation behind No. 1 Baylor (15-0), which helped the team crack into the top 25 after weeks of collecting votes.

With WKU’s entrance into the national rankings, there are now two C-USA squads in the top 25 — No. 19 Rice (16-1, 5-0) is also ranked. WKU and Rice are set to meet in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 10.

{{tncms-inline account=”AVCA” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">AVCA Top-25:1. Baylor2. Stanford3. Pitt4. Texas5. Neb6. Wisc7. Minn8. Penn St9. BYU10. Wash11. Creighton12. Marquette13. Florida14. Colorado St15. Cal16. Kentucky17. Illinois18. Utah19. Rice20. Purdue21. Wash St22. Hawai'i23. Louisville24. WKU25. Mizz</p>— AVCA (@AVCAVolleyball) <a href="https://twitter.com/AVCAVolleyball/status/1183818530954895361?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 14, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/AVCAVolleyball/status/1183818530954895361″ type=”twitter”}}

Kael and Matthews were both essential to the Lady Toppers putting an end to FAU’s 21-game home winning streak — the second longest in the country — on Friday and FIU’s 14-match home winning streak — tied for sixth longest in the country — on Sunday.

Matthews finished with 14 or more kills and posted a .333 and .419 hitting percentage against FAU and FIU. Matthews also finished with four or more blocks in both games.

For the weekend, Matthews racked 29 total kills on .377 hitting clip while tallying nine blocks for a 4.14 kills per set, 1.29 blocks per set and an overall 4.93 points per set mark.

Kael earned her first C-USA individual award of the season after lead the team in total digs over the weekend. Kael amassed 11 digs against FAU and nine digs against FIU to set her team-high mark.

Kael was perfect in serve-receive across 29 receptions and delivered a 96.8-percent rating from the service line. With the help of Kael, WKU held its third opponent of the season to a sub .100 hitting percentage on the match, as FIU was kept to a .063 hitting percentage.

The Lady Toppers have now collected 11 C-USA awards through the first seven weeks of distribution, and they’re the only team in the league that has earned an award each week.

WKU is also the lone squad to have players recognized for each of the four C-USA weekly awards — Offensive Player, Defensive Player, Setter and Freshman of the Week.

WKU will conclude its road trip at Middle Tennessee State (7-12, 1-4 C-USA) on Friday night before returning home to Diddle Arena to host Texas-San Antonio (12-7, 5-1 C-USA) on Sunday afternoon.

Game time against MTSU is set for Friday at 6 p.m. in Alumni Memorial Gym, while game time against UTSA is set for noon on Sunday in Diddle Arena.

Reporter Kaden Gaylord can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Kaden on Twitter at @_KLG3.