Hudson, Lady Tops ready for tourney time

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 WKU volleyball team is gearing up for the Conference USA tournament.

The Lady Toppers (28-3) are coming off a C-USA regular season championship-winning season and will enter contest as the tournament’s No. 1 seed.

The team just wrapped up regular season play, in which it went 15-1 to lead the league, and headed down to San Antonio on Wednesday to prepare for its first game against the Thundering Herd of Marshall.

WKU has defeated Marshall twice this year already and only dropped a single set to the Herd all season.

“It’s kind of nice in terms of preparation because we just did play them,” Head Coach Travis Hudson said. “Not a lot is going to change in a week for either one of us I don’t think. It makes the preparation for the first round match that much easier.”

This past Thursday, the Lady Toppers took down the Herd in a three-set sweep in Diddle Arena. The upcoming match is set for 5 p.m. on Friday.

“Our kids have been ready night-in and night-out for the past couple months, and they know what time of year it is: tournament time. They understand that it will come down to the little things and that we will have to play very well,” Hudson said. “There are certainly other teams that are more than capable of winning this thing, and we realize that.”

The Conference USA tournament is being hosted by UTSA and will be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It features the top eight teams from the conference of 13.

Last year the No. 2 seed Lady Toppers grabbed the title in their first year as members of C-USA.

Rice and UTSA have been the other top teams in the conference all year. Rice served up the Lady Tops their only conference loss of the season, and UTSA finished with a 13-3 record in conference play.

“I would be a little bit surprised if WKU, Rice or UTSA doesn’t win this tournament,” Hudson said. “I think the three of us maybe have a few more tools than everybody else in this thing, but we will see. Tournament time is always fun.”

If Hudson and company can continue their winning ways and advance through the tournament, they will be playing three games in three days in Texas.

“Three games in three days presents challenges for us as it does for everybody,” Hudson said. “It’s going to be a great event, and we are excited to get down there and be a part of it.”

If WKU can take down Marshall for a third time this year, the Lady Toppers will see the winner of North Texas and Florida Atlantic.

The championship match is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday and will appear on national television via the Fox Sports Network.