WKU finishes with two wins and a tie in volleyball exhibition

Kaden Gaylord

The Lady Toppers went 2-0-1 in their three spring exhibition games against Lipscomb, Tennessee Tech and Murray State.  

The first game was against the Lipscomb Bison who WKU hasn’t faced since its 2017 Conference USA championship season. The Lady Toppers came out strong in the first set, at one point getting a double-digit lead and looked to have control for the rest of the set, but the Bison came back to tie the game at 17-17.

The teams went back and forth from there. WKU eventually went up 24-20 before Lipscomb came back to tie it once again before the Hilltoppers eventually won the set 26-24.

The second set started the same way the first one ended as both teams traded points between each other all the way until the first timeout with the set tied 12-12. Neither team gained a bigger lead than two until the third timeout with both teams tied at 21. WKU went on to score four straight points and take the second set 25-21 and won the game 2-0.  

The Lady Toppers second game against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles who they haven’t played in a regular season game since 2014. WKU took an early 13-4 lead and never looked back for the whole set. TTU tried to mount a comeback, outscoring the Lady Toppers 10-9, but WKU overpowered them and took the last few points to win the first set 25-14.

The Golden Eagles kept it close early in the second set as both teams went point-for-point with each other until the Lady Toppers went on a streak of scoring five points in a row to put them ahead 15-9.

The difference between the first and second set was that TTU didn’t let the Lady Toppers take full control. WKU kept trying to deliver the crushing blow, but TTU wouldn’t go away without a fight, countering WKU’s scoring efforts with their own. Eventually the Hilltoppers proved to be too much, winning the set 25-16 and the game 2-0.

The final game of the day was against the Murray State Racers, who the Lady Toppers haven’t played in a regular season game since 2011. WKU spent much of the first set trading points with the Racers but eventually got a four-point advantage over the racers that gave them enough space to play their game and win the first set 25-18.

The second set was different from every other set in the day as the Racers were the first team to gain any sort of lead over the Lady Hilltoppers that was bigger than one. WKU found themselves down 13-8 before taking their first timeout. The Hilltoppers pulled within two points before a serving error started a Murray State run that saw the Racers take a 23-16 lead.

The faster pace of the Racers proved to be too much as they won the second set 25-17 ending the game in a tie.

The Lady Toppers return with most of their team from last season, only losing two seniors, middle hitter Rachel Anderson and setter Mary Martin. Sophia Cerino returns for her senior year after placing second on the team in kills with 289 behind Anderson who had 397.

WKU returns later this fall to start its 2019 season. Last season the Lady Toppers lost in the C-USA championship and ended the season with double digit losses for the first time since 2008, however they still finished the year with 20 wins.

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