WKU volleyball drops first match since September

Clay Manlove

Thursday night’s match between the Lady Toppers and the Mean Green lived up to the hype, but didn’t go in WKU’s favor as the Lady Toppers dropped a 3-2 thriller (25-15, 21-25, 19-25, 25-19, 13-15) in Denton, Texas.

Despite a dominant offensive performance by the Lady Toppers, the Mean Green would not be kept off of the board as they found an answer to almost everything that WKU threw at them.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way our kids played tonight,” WKU head coach Travis Hudson said according to a press release. “If we play with the same character and determination we played with tonight in the tournament next week we’ll be in good shape. The team did everything that I asked them to do all match long and I couldn’t be more proud.”

WKU and North Texas traded points throughout most of fifth set before the Mean Green used a late three-point lead to pull away from the Lady Toppers. 

The loss was WKU’s first loss in 23 matches since dropping a 3-0 decision to Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 2, and their first conference loss since losing to Rice on Oct. 31, 2015, snapping a 38-match win streak.

WKU was able to take the first set at a comfortable 25-15 margin before the Mean Green stormed back to take set 2, tying the match 1-1 going into the intermission.

North Texas (25-2 overall, 12-1 Conference USA) took the third set 25-19 to take a 2-1 lead in the match before the Lady Toppers evened up the match at 2-2 with a 25-19 Set 4 victory.

The Lady Toppers (27-3 overall, 13-1 C-USA) hit at a collective .340 clip on the evening while holding the Mean Green to .256 hitting percentage.

Alyssa Cavanaugh led all players with 19 kills on the evening while Rachel Anderson and Sydney Engle followed with 18 and 10 kills, respectively.

Alexis Wright led North Texas with 18 kills on the night as Amanda Chamberlain added 14 kills and Holly Milam tacked on 12 kills for the Mean Green.

Even with the loss, the Lady Toppers will still earn a share of the Conference USA regular season title as WKU will return home to host the Conference USA Tournament from Friday, Nov. 17, to Sunday, Nov. 19. The tournament bracket should be announced sometime over the weekend.