Lady Tops headed to Sunshine State

Sophomore setter Jessica Lucas assists Noelle Langenkamp during the match against UTSA, Oct. 9, 2015. Abbey Tanner/HERALD

Matthew Stewart

After bouncing back from WKU’s first loss in 17 games against Rice with a three-set win over the University of Texas at El Paso, the No. 24 Lady Toppers volleyball team is hitting the road again.

This time, the Lady Tops (24-3, 11-1) are headed to Florida to take on Florida International (13-10, 7-5) on Friday and Florida Atlantic (15-9, 7-5) on Sunday in their final two road games of the regular season.

With just three losses overall and one in Conference USA play, WKU is sitting comfortably atop conference standings with two more league wins than No. 2 University of Texas, San Antonio. This weekend, WKU will be taking on the No. 5 and No. 6 teams respectively against Florida International and Florida Atlantic.

WKU has already faced off against both Florida squads this season, winning with two sweeps on the Lady Toppers’ home floor. Despite stepping into the opponents’ domains this weekend, Head Coach Travis Hudson and his squad are hoping they can go down and get the job done in six sets again.

Florida Atlantic is expected to be the larger threat to WKU’s success in Florida this weekend.

Even though WKU beat FAU just two weeks ago, the Owls were without one of their key players: 5-foot-9 junior outside hitter Maja Ristic. With one of FAU’s key offensive contributors this season back in the fold, Hudson is expecting a highly contested game.

“FAU is one of the teams that presents a legitimate challenge when we step on the floor with them,” Hudson said.

Before breaking a finger on each hand, Ristic recorded 27 kills in the Owls’ last two matches when they swept both the University of Alabama, Birmingham and Middle Tennessee.

The Owls are 15-9 overall and 8-2 at home. “The Burrow” historically has been a difficult environment for traveling teams to compete in and accommodates 5,000 fans.

“To be honest, I like to get out on the road and spend time with my seniors this late in the year just knowing we are wrapping it up with them,” Hudson said. “It’s some time that I won’t have with them for much longer.”

The other game on the schedule for the Lady Toppers will pit them against Florida International.

The Lady Toppers will take the court this Friday at 6:00 p.m. in Miami to take on FIU and then travel to Boca Raton to face off against FAU at noon on Sunday.