WKU defeats ULM 3-1 in annual Dig 4 Pink match

Austin Lanter

The Lady Topper volleyball team won its 10th straight match on Friday with a 3-1 win over the Louisiana-Monroe’

With the win, WKU moves to 16-4 on the season remains perfect in the Sun Belt Conference at 6-0. ULM falls to 5-17 overall and 1-5 in the conference with the loss.

ULM was able to pull off a win in the third set. It was the first set the Lady Toppers have dropped since Sept. 21.

“I’m not taking anything away from what Monroe did,” coach Travis Hudson said. “They came out and made plays. The right team won that (third) set.”

Five different players recorded career-highs for WKU Friday. Senior setter Melanie Stutsman had 60 assists in the match, senior defensive specialist Ashley Potts had 30 digs, and junior setter Mollie Pajakowski had 10 digs on the night.

Two players recorded careers-highs in kills — sophomores Haley Bodway and Noelle Langenkamp had 21 kills and 14 kills respectively.

“Ashley was really good, she was flying around out there,” Hudson said. “She was really good. Noelle Langenkamp…really controlled that much when she was in there. We’re looking at the bright spots and we’re moving on to the next one.”

To begin the first set, ULM scored two of the first three points but three straight errors by the Lady Warhawks gave WKU the lead and they never look back from there taking the set 25-18.

The Lady Toppers held ULM to just a .067 hitting percentage in the first set while they recorded a .375 percentage. Five different WKU players had multiple kills in the first set with Bodway leading the way with four.

WKU recorded 16 assists in the first frame as Stutsman had 15 of those 16. Stutsman was honored a few days ago by the Sun Belt Conference as the Setter of the Week for the fourth straight week and fifth time overall this season.

The Lady Warhawks jumped out to an early 5-1 lead and later in the set had a 14-10 advantage. However, WKU used a 12-0 run with Pajakowski serving to take control of the game. The Lady Toppers ended the set on a 15-1 run as the only ULM point came on a service error by Pajakowski.

On the set WKU once again had a hitting percentage over .300 while ULM had a negative percentage at -.044.

Bodway tallied seven more kills in the set to lead the Lady Toppers. Stutsman had 14 assists while senior defensive specialist Ashley Potts led the team in digs with 12 in the second frame.

In a back-and-forth third set ULM came up victorious taking the frame 28-26. The Warhawks recorded their highest hitting percentage of the match at .341, a higher percentage than WKU’s


“Monroe deserved to win the set,” Hudson said. “They played better than we did. We didn’t get off to a get start.”

WKU bounced back and dominated the fourth set winning by a score of 25-11. The Lady Toppers hit .640 in the set while ULM hit .077.

“We had some unforced errors (in the third set) but bounced back in the fourth set,” Pajakowski said. “We focused on stopping and our defense held them more.”

The win is the 32nd straight win in the Sun Belt Conference for WKU. ULM’s win in the third set, however, snapped a streak of 40 straight sets won by the Lady Toppers in SBC play. The last set lost in conference play was Oct. 26, 2012, to FIU on the road.

Friday’s match was also the team’s annual Dig 4 Pink match and the first of the season for Harlie Bryant. The WKU team adopted Harlie a couple years ago through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, a foundation that matches local children with brain tumors to collegiate athletic teams.

“Having Harlie around is huge,” Pajakowski said. “She brings so much life and energy. She warms up with us. I love seeing her next to the bench with her family. That really brings the extra energy. It’s easy to feed off it.”

WKU will travel to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette for a match Sunday at noon against the Ragin’ Cajuns (12-7, 2-3 SBC).