Volleyball notebook: WKU looks to get back on track this weekend

Austin Lanter

After snapping its 38-match conference winning streak last Sunday, the Lady Topper volleyball team will look to get back to its winning ways in a two-match trip to Arkansas this weekend.

The Lady Toppers will face Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday and Arkansas State on Saturday.

UALR currently leads the Sun Belt, with a perfect 7-0 conference record, and is riding a 13-match winning streak.

“They’re at home and they’re undefeated and that one’s going to be a challenge,” coach Travis Hudson said.

WKU (16-5, 5-1 SBC) and UALR (15-4, 7-0 SBC) will play Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.

ASU (9-12, 5-2 SBC) is coming off a sweep of the two Texas teams — Texas State and Texas-Arlington — from a week ago.

“Arkansas State really put together a really great weekend last weekend,” Hudson said. “That’s just the state of the Sun Belt right now. It’s going to be a challenging weekend for sure.”

WKU defeated both teams last year at home 3-0.

Stopping UALR’s Begic

Not only will WKU be playing the top team in the Sun Belt this Friday, but they will have the task of dealing with UALR’s junior outside hitter Edina Begic.

This season, Begic is averaging over five kills a set and has 406 kills on the season — over 100 more than the person with the second most on her team. It is also almost 200 more kills than WKU’s leader in kills, senior outside hitter Paige Wessel, who has 211 so far in the 2013 campaign.

Last week, Begic earned her fifth consecutive Sun Belt Player of the Week honors, a conference record. The award came after a record-setting performance where she posted 36 kills in a single match.

Earlier this season Begic was chosen as the Preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

“(She’s) far and away the Player of the Year in the league,” Hudson said. “She’s first or second in the nation in scoring and nobody’s had an answer for her all year long.”

Seniors close in on records

Senior setter Melanie Stutsman and senior defensive specialist Ashley Potts are both closing in on all-time WKU records. Both players have been highly decorated throughout their careers and this season has been no exception.

Stutsman has been named the Sun Belt Setter of the Week five times this season already. She has earned American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Honorable Mention three times in her career and has been a three-time AVCA All-South Region player. Stutsman was also the Most Outstanding Player at last year’s conference tournament.

This season Stutsman has 862 assists — 331 away from the WKU record.

Potts is the two-time Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year and has been on both the All-Sun Belt Conference’s first team and second team in her career. She has also participated in the U.S. Women’s National Team tryouts.

Potts has won the Defensive Player of the Week in the conference twice this season and eight times in here career. She currently has 360 digs this season and is 186 digs away from the all-time Lady Topper record.

The two have 11 regular season games left this season in addition to any games in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament to reach these milestones.