Lady Toppers head home early after first round sweep

Austin Lanter

The Lady Topper volleyball team will head back to Kentucky earlier than expected after being swept by Troy 3-0 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Thursday in Troy, Ala.

Before Thursday night’s match, WKU (27-5, 17-2 Sun Belt Conference) had never lost to the Trojans and in 21 games had only lost one set to the team. The lone set dropped before tonight was in 2007.

WKU swept Troy less than one week ago in Diddle Arena. The Lady Toppers won 3-0 the first time the two teams played as well at Troy on Sept. 27.

In the losing effort, senior defensive specialist Ashley Potts tallied 13 digs making her WKU’s all-time leader in digs.

All three sets in the match were decided by two points — 24-26, 25-27, and 25-28, respectively.

In all three sets the Lady Toppers had Troy at set point but could not finish the Trojans off.

Sophomore outside hitter Haley Bodway led the team with 14 kills in the match. Close behind was senior outside hitter Paige Wessel with 12 and sophomore middle hitter Noelle Langenkamp with 10.

Senior setter Melanie Stutsman had 40 assists in the match.

The Trojans had more kills, services aces, and blocks than WKU. The Lady Toppers had more service and attack errors than their opponents as well.

WKU went into the tournament as the No. 1 seed while Troy was the No. 8. The Lady Toppers won the regular season title after finishing the conference season with a record of 17-1; the most conference wins in school history.

The team was trying to become the first team in the history of the conference to win both the regular season and tournament crowns in three straight seasons.

This is also the team’s last season in the Sun Belt Conference as they will move to Conference-USA next season

WKU is now 27-6 on the season and will now wait to hear about an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.