Lady Tops go 1-2 in weekend tourney after winning 10 straight

Junior middle hitter Noelle Langenkamp (13) spikes the ball for a point as Belmont’s Arianna Person (10) and Scarlet Gable (9) try to block during WKU’s 3-0 sweep over Belmont on Tuesday, Sept. 2 in Diddle Arena in Bowling Green. Mike Clark/HERALD

Jonah Phillips

WKU volleyball edged its win streak into double digits with a win on Friday, but dropped the final two games at the Spartan Invitational in East Lansing, Michigan this past weekend. 

Friday the Lady Toppers (11-4) swept familiar-opponent Milwaukee (4-7) with set scores of 25-22, 25-20 and 25-17. 

Freshman outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh led the team with 12 kills and was the only Lady Topper to hit double-digit kills in the match. 

Freshman setter Jessica Lucas proved, once again, crucial to the Lady Topper attack, tallying 32 assists.

Junior middle hitter Noelle Langenkamp and junior outside hitter Haley Bodway tallied nine and seven kills, respectively. Defensively, WKU out-blocked Milwaukee 11-5.

Five of those blocks came from senior middle hitter Heather Boyan, with another four belonging to freshman middle hitter Sydney Engle.

Sophomore defensive specialist Georgia O’Connell put up 12 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Kaelin Grimes added seven.

WKU could not muster a similar performance against No. 25 Michigan State (7-4).

“We didn’t play well this weekend, but we are OK,” Head Coach Travis Hudson said. “This is a work in progress. We jumped out of the gate, and I think people were saying, ‘Here they go again,’ and we aren’t there yet. I’ve said that all along, even when we are winning.”

The Spartans could do no wrong in the match, sweeping WKU by scores of 25-11, 25-21 and 25-16.

Again, Cavanaugh led WKU’s offense with 11 kills.  

“The thing that killed us all weekend was we didn’t handle the ball well,” Hudson said. “Our serving was horrendous for the weekend and our serves received were horrendous for the weekend. We had six aces and 26 errors from the serving line.”

The Lady Toppers would play one more match on Saturday, against LIU Brooklyn (9-4), falling 3-1 with scores of 25-20, 24-26, 25-18 and 25-18.

LIU Brooklyn also defeated Michigan State 3-2 on Friday.

The stat sheets may have improved from their loss the previous night against Michigan State, but it wasn’t enough to give the Lady Toppers the edge.

Four Lady Toppers hit double digit kills on the match. Langenkamp had 13, Boyan had 12, Bodway had 11 and Cavanaugh had 10.  

Lucas notched 44 assists to go with eight digs and three blocks. O’Connell led the match with 21 digs.

It still managed to be a match of errors and miscues for the Lady Toppers, especially from the service line. WKU dished out 14 service errors and allowed 10 LIU service aces.

“Against LIU Brooklyn we had one ace and 14 errors,” Hudson said. “They had 10 aces and eight errors. If you take their 10 aces and our 14 errors, that’s 24 points. That’s an entire game.”

Although the errors and miscues hurt the Lady Toppers, Hudson said that wasn’t the biggest of his concerns.

“The biggest disappointment for me this weekend was it was the first time all year, especially on Saturday against LIU Brooklyn, I don’t think we brought it from a competitive standpoint,” Hudson said.

“All year the reason I have liked this team so much is because we go out and compete every day, and if we continue to do that we are going to get better. Saturday we didn’t do that — it was mostly a competitive energy level issue, and trust me when I say we will get that fixed immediately.”

The Lady Toppers return to Diddle Arena tonight to take on Tennessee Tech (5-10) at 7 p.m.

“The sky is not falling for the volleyball team,” Hudson said. “I like where we are as a team. We just have to get some things corrected before conference play and we will.”