Lady Toppers receive All-C-USA honors heading into conference tournament

Senior middle hitter Rachel Anderson (4) spikes the ball over the net past ETSU for one of her 10 kills at Diddle Arena Sept. 14. Anderson had 10 kills and four blocks for the Lady Toppers in a 3-0 win against the Bucs.

Casey McCarthy

Four Lady Topper volleyball players received Conference USA regular season honors as the team gears up for postseason play beginning this weekend.

Senior Rachel Anderson was named First-Team All-Conference, her third-straight All-Conference nod. Anderson led WKU in both kills and blocks during the regular season and heads into her final postseason at third all-time in blocks.

Junior Sophia Cerino began her athletic career on the Hill as a walk on for the Lady Toppers. This season, she became a Second-Team All-Conference selection in addition to being named to the C-USA All-Academic Team. With a 3.95 GPA, Cerino has been a President’s List selection every semester at WKU.

For the Lady Toppers this season, Cerino led the team in service aces while finishing second in kills, operating at a .329 offensive clip on the year.

Freshmen Lauren Matthews and Payton Frederick were both selected to the C-USA All-Freshman team, the first WKU players to receive the honor since Anderson her freshman season. Only Alyssa Cavanaugh and Jessica Lucas have landed on the team otherwise.

Frederick played in every set this season alongside Cerino and Anderson as she led WKU defensively with 385 digs on the year after taking over at libero halfway through the season.

Despite missing a large part of the season early due to injury, Matthews managed to finish the year fourth on the team in kills and third in blocks operating out of the middle.

The Lady Toppers will head to Huntington, West Virginia, this weekend for the C-USA Tournament. WKU managed to secure the number two seed for the second consecutive season and will face Southern Miss on Friday at 5 p.m. to open the tournament.

WKU finished the regular season with a record of 20-9, with an 11-3 mark in conference play. The Lady Toppers are chasing a program-record fifth-consecutive automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Head coach Travis Hudson’s squad enters the tournament with the second-best winning streak, having won its past six matches going into the weekend. Top-seeded North Texas enters the tournament having won its last seven.

Reporter Casey McCarthy can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]