Lady Tops earn two more C-USA victories

Senior defensive specialist Georgia O’Connell (12) digs the volleyball against UAB on Friday, Oct. 14 at Diddle Arena. O’Connell led the Lady Toppers with 11 digs. Jeff Brown/HERALD

Matthew Stewart

Hilltopper Hysteria began Friday night with a Lady Topper volleyball match against conference foe University of Alabama Birmingham (9-14).

The opportunity made for what Head Coach Travis Hudson described as a beneficial atmosphere for the team and WKU fans.

“This is a fun opportunity,” Hudson said. “We have so many season ticket holders for the sport of women’s volleyball now that saw their first volleyball match on the night of Hilltopper Hysteria.”

The Lady Tops (20-2) struggled as they dropped the first set to UAB 25-20.

“We just didn’t play well in the first set,” Hudson said. “That’s about as calm as you’ll see me when we are playing like that because at no point was UAB really doing things that were hurting us as much as we were just shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Coach Hudson and the Lady Tops managed to regroup after the first set, and the team came out firing on all cylinders in the second period as they would go on to win the set 25-19.

“Stay the course and relax,” Hudson said. “Volleyball is such a funny game; it’s a game of emotion.”

WKU managed to go on to win the match 3-1 as junior outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh led the way offensively with 17 kills on a .517 hitting clip.

Right behind the All-American was sophomore middle hitter Rachel Anderson, who threw down 16 kills with a .609 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Sydney Engle got in on the action as well with eight kills of her own.

Freshman defensive specialist Emma Kowalkowski served up six aces in the match, a new personal best, and a WKU individual match high. WKU, as a team, notched 13 aces which are the most it has served up this season.

Defensively, senior defensive specialist Georgia O’Connell was the only Lady Topper to rack up double-digit digs with 11 on the night. The senior’s first dig of the second set was the 1,500th of her career.

Sunday, the Lady Tops matched up against Florida International University (7-14) as the team successfully swept the Panthers with a three-set victory (25-13, 25-17, 25-19).

Cavanaugh was the only Lady Topper with double-digits in the kill column with 13. All-American junior setter Jessica Lucas put up 31 assists to go along with six digs and one block.

O’Connell was the only player with double-digit digs once again with 13 in the match

The Lady Tops are back in action on Friday as they travel to Texas to take on the University of Texas El Paso (4-16).

“We are kinda at the point where this is getting long, doing the same thing over and over,” Hudson said. “Soon we will get out of that; our kids keep finding a way to win and that’s the most important part.”

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