Volleyball team prepares for long road trip and quick turnaround

Austin Lanter

Back on top of the league standings once again, the Lady Topper volleyball team takes on a pair of conference opponents this weekend, one on the road and one at home.

First up for the team will be a road match against Louisiana-Monroe on Friday. ULM (4-20, 1-8 Sun Belt Conference) may seem like easy competition but earlier this year, but the Lady Warhawks snapped WKU’s 40-set Sun Belt winning streak in their last match. The Lady Toppers ultimately won the match 3-1 on Oct. 11 in Diddle Arena.

“They’re really scrappy and they play hard,” freshman defensive specialist Georgia O’Connell said. “I think we did let our guard down. We kind of got complacent with what we were doing. I think if we stay aggressive the whole match, then we’ll win.”

Sophomore middle hitter Noelle Langenkamp agreed with O’Connell and said the team needs to come out with a purpose each set and win to 10 instead of playing catch-up.

The trip to Monroe, La., is about 10 hours, which the team will be traveling by bus. WKU will not get back until early Saturday morning before playing a home match against Arkansas State at noon.

“It’s just a tremendously strenuous road swing and we’ll just have to manage that,” coach Travis Hudson said. “Obviously, we will have to play well against a team that gave us fits here.”

Luckily for the players, the bus is a sleeper bus which includes beds for them to sleep in.

“I think it’ll make us tired but we are taking the sleeper bus so we’ll be able to sleep,” O’Connell said. “Since we’re driving through the night, it’ll be like getting a night’s sleep, so I think we’ll be fine.”

Sunday will be the second time WKU takes on ASU (10-13, 6-3 SBC) in a week. The two teams played in Jonesboro, Ark., last Sunday, where WKU came out on top 3-0.

WKU handled ASU in the last game, sweeping the Red Wolves and taking the sets by 11, nine, and five points.

Despite the sweep, there are a couple of things the team wants to improve on for the upcoming game. Langenkamp said the Lady Toppers need to improve their blocking.

“It’s easier now because I know the block, like our blocking schemes,” she said. “I think we’ll do better at blocking this game.

O’Connell said the team as a whole will just need to serve more aggressively this time around.

For Hudson, it’s not about what ASU is doing, but rather what his team is doing.

“I decided a few weeks ago that these last three or four weeks needed to be about us and getting better on our side of the net,” he said. “We played pretty well against Arkansas State. I think they made some adjustments in the third set and made it close. They made some nice adjustments and I’m sure they’ll pick up right there.”