Lady Tops back in the top 25

Matthew Stewart

The road trip the Lady Toppers took to Texas this weekend seemed to be a turning point in the season for the team as WKU is back in the AVCA top 25 as a result of the games, coming in at 23rd.

On Friday, Head Coach Travis Hudson won his 550th career match with the WKU sweep of the University of Texas El Paso.

With the win the Lady Tops improved to 21-2 on the season and 8-0 in Conference USA play.

“I’m extremely proud of the way our kids played tonight against a tough UTEP squad,” Hudson said according to a WKU Sports press release. “We withstood a first-set challenge and played much better as the match wore on.”

All-American junior setter Jessica Lucas nearly put together a triple double performance in the win over the Miners. Lucas finished with 30 assists, nine kills and nine digs. She also posted a team-high .571 hitting percentage.

Lucas finished the evening with 30 assists, nine kills, nine digs, three block assists and a team-leading .571 hitting percentage.

Offensively, All-American junior outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh put up a match leading 12 kills while sophomore middle hitter Rachel Anderson had 10 to her name.

This was the 21st double-digit kill performance for Cavanaugh this year and the 15th for Anderson.

Junior outside hitter Sydney Engle added six kills of her own to go along with three service aces and four blocks.

Senior defensive specialist Georgia O’Connell held down the WKU defense with 10 digs in the match, which marked her 19th double-digit dig match of the year.

On Sunday, the Lady Tops faced off against the Road Runners of the University of Texas San Antonio.

Hudson knew the team would have their hands full with UTSA as they played them in the C-USA championship last year.

However, WKU continued its winning streak, taking down the Runners in four sets.

“I am just really proud of our kids’ toughness today,” Hudson said according to a WKU Sports press release. “To play a team like UTSA on the back end of this road trip and drop game one and yet find a way to win says a lot about our players.”

Anderson finished the match with career highs offensively. She threw down 20 kills on a .633 hitting percentage while also adding four blocks.

Cavanaugh put in 12 kills of her own accompanied by a career-high seven digs in the match.

Lucas put together her ninth double-double of the season with 39 assists and 18 digs. She also added six kills and four blocks.

O’Connell matched her season-high dig performance with 23 in the win. Engle added 11 and senior defensive specialist Kaelin Grimes had seven of her own.

“I thought our senior defensive players, Georgia [O’Connell] and Kaelin [Grimes], were terrific today in leading us and playing high-level defensive,” Hudson said.

The Lady Tops will be back in action this Friday at 5 p.m. as they will travel to Huntington, West Virginia, to take on the Thundering Herd of Marshall University.

Reporter Matthew Stewart can be reached at 270-745-6281 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @MES_WKU22.