Volleyball team finishes regular season with two home wins

Middle hitter Noelle Langenkamp (13) blocks a spike by middle blocker Andrea Book (5) as outside hitter Paige Wessel (9) assists during WKU’s 3-0 victory over Georgia State Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.

Austin Lanter

The Lady Toppers closed one of the most successful seasons in school history this weekend with a pair of wins and a ceremony to honor an important senior class.

With wins over South Alabama on Friday and Troy on Sunday, WKU (27-5, 17-1 Sun Belt Conference) earned the most school wins in conference play in school history in a year.

WKU defeated Georgia State last Wednesday to capture its 12th straight 25-win season, giving the tea, 19 such seasons in program history with 14 of those coming under Travis Hudson.

The win also gave the Lady Toppers their third straight Sun Belt Conference regular season title. The team will be the No. 1 overall seed in the conference tournament this year and will look to become the first team in Sun Belt history to win three straight regular season and tournaments crowns.

An individual WKU record fell this weekend as well. Friday night in a 3-2 win over South Alabama, senior setter Melanie Stutsman became the all-time assist leader in school history.

“We had a little celebration on the court,” Stutsman said. “It feels really good. I never would’ve expected this coming here because Travis always trains setters really well. They’re always really, really good here. It’s a huge honor and I’m really happy for it.”

Another school record is destined to fall in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament later this week as well. Senior defensive specialist Ashley Potts in five digs away from tying the all-time digs record at WKU.

She also set a career-high on Friday against South Alabama with 33 digs.

The team is currently on an 11-game winning streak and has swept 10 of those games. The Lady Toppers have also won 17 of its last 18 games with the lone loss coming to Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 13 on the road 3-2.

“I think we are meshing together and it’s coming at a good time,” senior middle hitter Lindsay Spears said. “I think we’re all getting along really well and it seems like there’s a lot of chemistry out there.”

For Hudson, he said the team is coming together as well and that Sunday’s sweep over Troy showed what this years team is all about.

“We played everyone on our roster and got to rest Heather (Boyan, junior middle hitter) and you still see us put an awfully good team out there,” he said. “We’re pretty good 1-to-12.”

Despite struggling a bit this weekend, dropping two sets to South Alabama and hitting only .100 with eight errors in the first set against Troy, Hudson said his team will be fine and he was not concerned.

“Talent is not a question for our team,” Hudson said. “If we bring it from an energy, competitiveness, activity level standpoint, then we are going to play well that night.”

Five seniors were honored before Sunday’s match against Troy — outside hitter Janee’ Diggins, Potts, Spears, Stutsman, and outside hitter Paige Wessel. In their four years here, these seniors have an overall record of 118-22 and a 61-4 record in the Sun Belt.

They have also won three regular season Sun Belt titles, two Tournament titles, and have appeared in the NCAA tournament three times.

“(Senior Day) 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.”

The Sun Belt Tournament will begin Thursday in Troy, Ala. WKU will likely play the host Lady Trojans in the first round of the tournament.