Seniors lead WKU to sweep of Troy in regular season finale

Austin Lanter

The Lady Toppers closed the regular season with a sweep of Troy on Sunday as five Lady Topper seniors were honored before the match.

Outside hitter Janee’ Diggins, middle blocker Lindsay Spears, defensive specialist Ashley Potts, setter Melanie Stutsman, and outside hitter Paige Wessel have led WKU to some of the most successful years in program history, compiling an overall record of 118-22 and 61-4 in Sun Belt Conference games. The five seniors were recognized with their families before the match.

 WKU finishes the season 27-5 and 17-1 in the Sun Belt Conference — the most conference wins in a single season.

Tied at 18 in the first set, WKU went on a 7-1 run to take the set 25-19 and a 1-0 lead in the match.

The first set was a bit of a struggle for both teams. The Lady Toppers held Troy to a negative hitting percentage at -.044 but only hit .100 themselves. The Lady Toppers had 40 attacking attempts and only recorded 12 kills while committing eight errors.

Stutsman averages nearly 12 assists per set by herself and WKU only had 11 assists in the first frame.

“I guess we weren’t really focused that game,” Diggins said. “We came back and were focused and everyone did what they were supposed to do.”

Despite the team struggling, coach Travis Hudson said he wasn’t worried in that first set.

“I thought we were playing really hard and really active,” he said. “If you notice I wasn’t getting too uptight in that first set because I knew it was coming. Talent is not a question for our team.”

WKU used a 9-0 run early in the second set to build an 11-point lead. From there, the team cruised to a 25-8 victory in the second set.

Overall, the Lady Toppers cleaned it up in the second set and hit.542. Once again they held their opponents to a negative percentage at -.100.

In 24 attacking attempts, WKU had 13 kills and zero errors.

The Lady Toppers also tallied five blocks in second frame.

WKU continued its dominance in the third frame, once again hitting .542 for the set. The Lady Toppers won the set 25-10 with the final point being a dig from Potts, a set from Stutsman, and a kill from Wessel.

“I looked up and all five of our seniors were on the floor at the same time and you can’t script it better than that,” Hudson said. “This goes by so fast…I wanted to use one of my timeouts to genuinely thank those kids and give them a moment together. It was special to do that and then come out and end it with an Ashley Potts pass and a Mel (Stutsman) set to Paige Wessel. That was storybook stuff right there.

Diggins had five kills in the match, Spears had four, and Wessel had eight. Stutsman recorded a double-double in the game with 28 assists and 10 digs while Potts had 13 digs.

Potts in now only six digs away from breaking WKU’s all-time dig record.

“It was awesome,” Spears said. “They’re my best friends so it was really good being with them and it was awesome ending it with us five on the court at the same time.”

 WKU will be the number one seed in the Sun Belt Tournament starting Thursday in Troy, Ala. Right now the Lady Toppers are expected to play Troy (12-20, 7-11 SBC) in the first round. WKU has never lost a match to Troy in 21 games and has only dropped one set in the series all-time.