WKU sweeps Arkansas State for second time this season

Austin Lanter

The WKU volleyball team made quick work of Arkansas State Sunday afternoon, taking the match 3-0.

The Lady Toppers won took the first set 25-15, won in the second 25-12, and closed the match with a 25-20 third set.

The sweep is the 14th of the season for the Lady Toppers and the ninth sweep in Sun Belt Conference play. The win is also the 13th straight win for WKU over Arkansas State (11-15, 6-5 Sun Belt Conference). During that span, the Red Wolves have only won two sets against WKU.

It is also the fourth straight sweep for WKU after losing its lone conference game this season two weeks ago to Louisiana-Lafayette.

“We’re fortunate,” coach Travis Hudson said. “Two weeks ago we were two games behind Little Rock (UALR) in the standings and we’ve gone 4-0 since. Little Rock lost again yesterday so now we have a clear two game lead with seven to go. I think where we are.”

The Lady Toppers (20-5, 10-1 SBC) led the majority of the first set and took the opening frame by a score of 25-15. WKU used a 5-0 run and a 6-0 run early in the set to take a 16-8 lead and did not look back from there.

The team also had 11 kills in the first set compared to just five for Arkansas State. The Red Wolves also had a negative hitting percentage in the set at -.138 while WKU hit .231.

“At practice we focused on getting stops and that includes blocking and floor defense,” senior outside hitter Paige Wessel said. “The number one way to stop someone is serving aggressive and I think we served aggressive today.”

Sophomore outside hitter Haley Bodway led the way in the first set with four of the team’s 11 kills.

WKU continued its dominance in the second set jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead behind a pair of kills from junior middle hitter Heather Boyan. Later in the set, the Lady Toppers used a 8-0 run to build a 12 point lead. The team would go on to take the set 25-12.

Boyan and Wessel each tallied five kills in the second set alone to lead WKU to a .485 hitting percentage in the set. Once again the Lady Toppers held their opponents to a low hitting percentage as the Red Wolves had a .111 percentage in the frame.

Altogether the team had 18 kills and hit .485 in the second set.

“That’s another thing we’ve been working on is being more sharp offensively,” Boyan said. “When the passers are doing a great job and Mel (senior setter Melanie Stutsman) is dealing us up there it’s great because we can just go up there and swing away.”

The third set proved to be the closest of the three as WKU took the set by five.

On the match, WKU had 43 kills to ASU’s 24 as the Red Wolves hit only .053 in the match.

Stutsman finished with a double-double today with 31 assists and 10 digs while Boyan tallied 12 kills in all.

“I really like how they played (in the first two sets,” Hudson said. “I’ve tried a little bit of everything. You try to not say anything (at the break) and hope they’ll continue. You try to forewarn them ‘we’ve got to stay focused.’ But we’d played well to that point.”

The Lady Toppers will hit the road for the last time this season with a pair of matches in the state of Texas against Texas State and UT-Arlington. WKU will play Texas State (15-10, 5-5 SBC) Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. and UT-Arlington (15-9, 8-3 SBC) the next day at 3 p.m.