Home stretch | Lady Tops look to win this weekend

WKU senior Noelle Langenkamp (13) spikes the ball between a pair of Missouri State blockers during the Lady Toppers’ 2-3 loss on Friday at Diddle Arena. Nick Wagner/HERALD

Matthew Stewart

The Lady Toppers are heading into the home stretch of the season with their last two regular season matches, a contest today at 6:00 p.m. against Marshall followed by a clash with the University of Texas, El Paso on Saturday at noon.

“To be able to finish up in Diddle Arena is something I know our group is excited about,” said Head Coach Travis Hudson.

WKU (26-3) is wrapping up its sixth straight season with more than 25 wins and is in position to claim the Conference USA regular season championship if it can win out this weekend.

Rolling into Bowling Green to take on Hudson and the Lady Toppers tonight is Marshall (15-12). The Thundering Herd could test WKU the most this weekend. 

“Marshall is still fighting to get in the conference tournament,” Hudson said. “I think that makes them dangerous. I think they are certainly going to come in here hungry to get a win.”

Marshall lost to WKU earlier in the season on its home floor in a four-set match. The Herd are also coming off a loss in their final home match of the season to Rice, who dished WKU its only loss since Sept. 11. 

“I feel like we have had the target on our back since we won it last year,” Hudson said. “Back in October, we beat UTSA and took sole possession of first place in the league. I feel that we have certainly gotten everybody’s best, and it’s been something our kids have had to stand up to.”

The Lady Toppers will have a day of rest before they hit the court again to battle the Miners of UTEP.

UTEP (9-20) has struggled for much of the season and was swept by the Lady Tops in El Paso on Nov. 1.

Hudson believes his team is hitting its stride at the right point of the season. With the C-USA and NCAA tournaments nearing, teams are attempting to play their best volleyball in the months of November and December. Hudson believes his team is also poised to compete at its best. 

“I think we have five legitimate offensive weapons that we can come at you with any time now,” Hudson said. 

With a great deal of offensive output across the roster, the Lady Tops present danger in multiple areas of the floor. Senior middle hitter Noelle Langkenkamp has 311 kills, and sophomore outside and rightside hitter Sydney Engle has 201 kills. Sophomore setter Jessica Lucas has tallied 1,132 assists — more than all the assists of opponents WKU has faced combined — that account for 83 percent of the team’s assists. Finally, sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh has 336 kills, and senior outside hitter Haley Bodway has 197 kills.

“Haley Bodway is coming on strong. I think she was Player of the Week this past weekend,” Hudson said. “Haley put up some ridiculous numbers. Haley was the best player on the court. She hit .439 for the weekend. I just think she completes us offensively.”