WKU volleyball set to close out season at home this weekend

WKU senior middle hitter Heather Boyan (3) spikes the ball as two Charlotte players block on Oct. 7. Harrison Hill/HERALD

Jonah Phillips

WKU volleyball enters its last weekend of regular-season play receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association national poll for the fifth-week straight. The Lady Toppers’ 25-5 overall record and 13-1 Conference USA clip has put them at No. 32 in the country.

WKU is the only school in C-USA receiving votes in the AVCA poll, despite being ranked second in the conference behind UTSA – the only unbeaten team in the conference. WKU is one of only two teams that received votes this week that have registered 25 wins, the other being unbeaten No. 2 Washington.

With a pair of road wins over the weekend against Southern Miss and Marshall, WKU has won 14 of their last 15 games, and will look for two more wins this weekend at home to wrap up the regular season.

First up for the Lady Toppers on Thursday night at 7 p.m is UTEP (6-19, 4-10 Conference USA), a team WKU dished a sweep to on its home court just under a month ago.

The Lady Toppers will end their regular season with a rivalry clash against Middle Tennessee (9-19, 5-9 C-USA) for the first time this season on Saturday at 7 p.m.

For the team’s two lone seniors, these will be their last matches at home.

“It’s always an emotional time, and you hope that it is as a coach,” Head Coach Travis Hudson said. “You hope after four years that this meant something to them. There is so much going on this weekend on the hill, and there is still so much on the line for this team.”

While WKU’s defense has proved to be decisive in the latest weeks of its schedule, the Lady Topper offense continues to be the foundation for success. WKU’s .277 hitting percentage ranks 12th in the nation. WKU is also ranked in the top-30 nationally in assists per set (29) and kills per set (28).

Hudson’s defense has stepped up when called upon, specifically in the latter half of conference play. Not only is sophomore defensive specialist Georgia O’Connell coming off a defensive player of the week award from the conference, teammate senior middle hitter Heather Boyan has earned the same honor twice this season.

“The face of our team has changed,” Hudson said. “If you look at what we did (against Southern Miss and Marshall), we were lead defensively, which I am so proud of because that really was an Achilles of our team early on this year.”

“There is so much still on the line for this team. We have a chance to finish undefeated at home, we are still in a good position for at-large consideration for the NCAA tournament if we win out. There is just so much going on and so much on the line, we are looking for a really fun-filled weekend.”