Lady Toppers defeat Belmont in first home game of season

WKU women’s head coach Travis Hudson cheers on his team as they play against Tennessee State on Tuesday in Diddle Arena.

Casey McCarthy

The longest active home winning streak in the nation stayed in tact as WKU defeated Belmont Tuesday night in Diddle Arena.

WKU won the match 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-20). The win helped the Lady Toppers move to 2-2 on the season. After being tied 2-2 the first set, WKU built a quick lead and never relented. Senior Rachel Anderson had five of her team-high 11 kills during the first set. The second set was a back-and-forth battle between the Lady Toppers and Bruins, with 12 ties and four lead changes. No team led by more than three points in the second set until the final set point.

Three straight kills from junior Sophia Cerino gave WKU back the lead for good as the Lady Toppers were able to close the second set, 25-21. The Lady Toppers would come back from an early deficit in the third set to hold the Bruins just out of reach, securing the set and match.

Anderson led the team in kills with 11, adding two blocks and three digs. Cerino finished with 10 blocks, three service aces and three digs. Redshirt freshman Taylor Bebout continued to facilitate the offense, tallying 25 assists to go with seven digs and three kills.

Defensively freshman Payton Frederick led the way with nine digs, while Bebout and sophomore Darby Music finished with seven apiece.

Head coach Travis Hudson said it was good to have the young roster come out and win the first game in the newly-remodeled venue.

“It was nice to get out here on our home court and get the jitters out for all these new faces,” Hudson said. “You need a roster card when you watch our team play right now because there’s so many new faces in new places.”

Hudson said he wasn’t surprised the team came out a little flat given how hard they practiced yesterday, and that the team still has a lot of work ahead of them.

“Tomorrow is a more important day than today, because tomorrow we get to get back in the practice gym and get to continue to work to get better,” Hudson said.

Hudson said he was pleased with the big plays and aggression that Cerino brought to the team in tonight’s game. Cerino said it means so much to have had the opportunity to be a part of the program and build upon what’s been done over the past few years.

“It’s so cool to see all the fans come out for this, and it’s just a really cool feeling to that about us,” Cerino said. “It’s really just something special.” 

As an upperclassmen on the team now, Cerino said she wants step up and become an example for her younger teammates. Moving forward, she said the team has to continue to work to be better and stay at the level of intensity they’ve had so far this season. 

“I think, just constantly working on defense,” Cerino said. “That’s always something we can improve upon. That’s really going to take us to the next level. We’ve been playing pretty hard through our first couple of games and we just have to continue that.”

The Lady Toppers head to Saint Louis for a trio of matches this weekend, first facing host Saint Louis at 6 p.m. Friday. WKU will face Marquette and Kansas State the following day.

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