Lady Tops record first loss of 2015 season

Head Coach Travis Hudson gives the volleyball team a talk during the game against Tennessee Tech on Tuesday. Brandon Carter/HERALD

Matthew Stewart

The Lady Toppers are coming off a 2-1 performance in this past weekend’s Saluki Invitational in Carbondale, Illinois.

WKU started things off with a 3-0 victory over the University of Tennessee- Martin—the third consecutive sweep for the then-undefeated Lady Topper squad. 

Against UT-Martin, sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh led the offense for the Lady Tops, finishing with a match best 12 kills on a .524 hitting percentage.

Sophomore outside/right-side hitter Sydney Engle finished with seven kills, while fellow Lady Toppers senior middle hitter Noelle Langenkamp and freshman middle hitter Rachel Anderson each added four.

The team finished with a season best: 420 hitting clip, laying down 38 kills while only committing four errors.

In the second contest of the weekend, WKU was able to carry the momentum of three consecutive sweeps into its clash with host school Southern Illinois, and Head Coach Travis Hudson was confident with the versatility his team had shown. 

“I like our team a lot; I don’t think we have to rely on one kid,” Hudson said. “Depending on how people defend us, I think we can kind of come at them from anywhere.”

Not in a sweeping fashion, the Lady Tops took down the Salukis in a 3-1 battle.

Langenkamp held the team together, finishing with 15 kills off a team best and .371 hitting percentage. Cavanaugh added 13, Bodway added 11 and Engle added 10. 

The last game of the weekend for the Lady Toppers ended WKU’s five-game winning streak and brought the program its first loss of the season.  

The University of Dayton blanked WKU in three sets as the Flyers posted a .203 hitting percentage to the Lady Tops’ .142. Anderson continued to perform for the Lady Toppers, though, pulling in a career best of nine kills off a team-high .300 hitting clip. 

WKU’s .142 hitting percentage is partially due to the Flyers’ domination at the net.  Dayton blocked 11 attacks throughout the contest. 

“Dayton, I believe, is a Top-25 caliber team,” Hudson said.

Langenkamp said she knew this weekend would pose challenges to WKU after breaking into the AVCA Top 25 last week. 

“We definitely have a target on our backs after breaking into the Top 25,” Langenkamp said, adding that each opponent from here on out “will definitely be gunning for us.” 

The Toppers are excited to be back on their own court and to play in front of an energized home crowd at Diddle Arena tonight.

The Lady Toppers’ home opener will be against an Austin Peay team that has posted just a 2-5 record in 2015. First serve is set for 7 p.m.