Lady Tops travel to Kentucky for an in-state exhibition

WKU senior volleyball players Jessica Lucas (left) and Alyssa Cavanaugh have been selected as 2017 Senior CLASS Award Candidates. 

Clay Manlove

Editor’s note: this story was edited to remove scoring from the exhibition match as the schools agreed not to make the results public. 

Looking to get off on the right foot after a tremendous 2016 season, the WKU volleyball team headed to Lexington to play an exhibition match to 15th-ranked Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon. 

WKU head coach Travis Hudson stressed the importance of the game and why the in-state competiton is good for both teams.

“I think Kentucky is poised for a tremendous season,” said Hudson in a postgame press release. “They have all of the pieces necessary to deserve their top 15 ranking. These exhibitions are very beneficial for both teams, and we look forward to having Kentucky make the return trip to Bowling Green in 2018.”

Multiple Lady Toppers lit up the stat sheet against the Lady Wildcats. C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Alyssa Cavanaugh notched 11 kills and a .435 hitting clip, while Taylor Dellinger added 10 kills.

Jessica Lucas finished one kill shy of a triple-double for WKU, tallying 25 assists, 11 digs, nine kills, and a block assist. Freshman setter Taylor Bebout also had 11 assists in two sets of play. Rachel Anderson led the Lady Toppers with three blocks.

“We certainly would have liked to perform better today, but the absolute reason for an exhibition is to identify areas that we can improve,” Hudson said. “We came off back-to-back two-a-day sessions and lacked the physicality and mentality necessary to perform at the highest level.”

With the exhibition in the books, WKU will open the season with a three-game slate at the Miami (Ohio) Tournament in Oxford, Ohio on August 25-26. The Lady Tops will play two games on the 25th, Southern Illinois at 10:30 a.m. CT and Miami (Ohio) at 5:30 p.m. CT before finishing the tournament with an 8:30 a.m. match against Northern Arizona on the 26th.

On Saturday, August 19, the Lady Tops will return home to Diddle to host a free Volleyball 101 event from 2-4 p.m. The Lady Tops will scrimmage from 2-3 p.m. followed by a kid’s clinic from 3-4 p.m. put on by the players while head coach Travis Hudson speaks to fans about the fundamentals of understanding the game of volleyball.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to be back in front of our fans and to give them the chance to learn more about the game,” Hudson said. “It should be a fun and productive time to engage our fan base and help it continue to grow.”

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