Record-setting night sends WKU to dominant 3-0 win over Austin Peay

WKU senior Jessica Lucas (1) sets the ball to Rachel Anderson (4) during a game vs. Louisiana Tech on September 29, 2017 in EA Diddle Arena. “There is no one who is able to do what we can do offensively on the court,” head coach Travis Hudson said before the game.

Clay Manlove

The Lady Topper offense would not be denied on Tuesday evening, compiling a .549 hitting percentage to set a new school record on their way to a dominant 3-0 win over Austin Peay. 

While the defensive play wasn’t all that head coach Travis Hudson would’ve liked it to be, the WKU offense smothered the Governor defense with 44 combined kills. 

“We always pride ourselves in being able to come after you from multiple positions. That’s when we’re at our best,” Hudson said. “We’ve had some nights where individuals have had to carry us, but tonight was one of those nights that we did well offensively at multiple positions.” 

The Lady Toppers spread the wealth on offense, Rachel Anderson leading the way with 13 kills on a .800 hitting clip. Jessica Lucas enjoyed a nearly a career night, tallying 32 assists and six digs to complement eight kills, just two behind her career high. 

“Our passers and hitters are amazing. I could give them a terrible set and they could still follow through and make a play with it,” Lucas said of the offensive performance. “[Our passers] gave me a free pass every time, so it’s just a great team accomplishment overall.” 

Alyssa Cavanaugh and Sydney Engle also contributed on the offensive side of the net, chipping in seven and six kills, respectively. 

The Lady Toppers (19-2 overall, 5-0 C-USA) grabbed a comfortable 16-9 lead in the first set before Austin Peay fought back to within 23-19 before the set was secured with a Governor attack error. 

WKU found itself down 8-6 in the second set before charging back with a 14-7 run to take the second set 25-15. 

“Like Travis [Hudson] always says, we have a veteran team and we’ve all been a part of big matches like this. We knew that it would come to us eventually.” senior Jessica Lucas said. “We don’t take any team on our schedule lightly, and they are ranked in the Top 75 in the RPI so we knew that we had to come out ready to play.” 

WKU hit for a combined .659 percentage in the first two sets while holding the Governors to a .200 hitting clip throughout the match. The Lady Toppers grabbed an early 6-4 lead in the third set and never looked back, winning the final set 25-18. 

Despite the offensive performance, Hudson believes that there are still things that the Lady Toppers can clean up defensively before hitting the road this weekend. 

“Every opportunity to get better on the defensive side of the ball is a good opportunity right now,” Hudson said. “I still think that we can improve serving the ball and with our floor defense, which I thought was one of the brighter spots tonight.” 

The Lady Toppers hit the road this weekend for a pair of conference matches against Alabama-Birmingham on Friday and Florida International on Saturday before returning home on Friday, Oct. 20, to begin another four-game home stand with Texas-El Paso. 

“It’s a real blessing to be able to get this win because Austin Peay is having a tremendous year. It really helps when you’re trying to build RPI late in the year and put yourself in position for an at-large bid,” Hudson said. 

Reporter Clay Manlove can be reached at (270) 724-9620 or at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @ctmanlove58.