Volleyball team’s conference win streak ends at ULL

Austin Lanter

Sunday’s 3-2 road loss to Louisiana-Lafayette capped off a 1-1 weekend for the Lady Toppers that ended several notable streaks for the team.

Friday night the team saw its record of 40 straight sets won in the Sun Belt Conference come to an end, though WKU (16-5, 6-1 Sun Belt Conference) won the match 3-1 over Louisiana-Monroe (5-18, 1-6 SBC).

Two days later, however, the Lady Toppers lost their 38-match Sun Belt winning streak with a 3-2 defeat on the road to Louisiana-Lafayette (13-8, 3-4 SBC) — it was the first loss against a conference opponent for WKU since Oct. 4, 2011.

The loss also snapped a 10-match winning streak for the team.

“It’s an incredible run our team has been on, an incredible run,” coach Travis Hudson said. “If you’re asking me who’s going to win, I’ll take our team every night, but it’s not as easy as showing up with ‘WKU’ across your chest and winning. That’s a remarkable streak that I don’t know will be matched again.”

The winning streak was not a goal for the team, but merely an added bonus.

“It was cool to have, but it wasn’t our main goal,” senior middle hitter Lindsay Spears said. “Our main goal was to win individual matches. It’s not something to get discouraged by, it was just something cool to have in the process.”

On Sunday, the Lady Toppers were up 2-1 in the match and had a lead in the fourth set as well. Hudson said the 18 hitting errors in the final two sets heavily contributed to the loss and was uncharacteristic for the team.

Overall, WKU had a higher hitting percentage, more digs, more kills and more assists in the match.

“I’ve had matches this year that I’ve been more disappointed in when we’ve won,” Hudson said. “It was just that day when things aren’t bouncing your way a little bit. It’s hard to find on the box score where they beat us. It was a really bizarre match. They played well and deserved to win.”

For Spears, both teams played hard, but WKU could’ve played a cleaner match against ULL.

“They played really well and hard and we played hard too, but we could’ve capitalized on their mistakes and played better,” Spears said. “We could’ve played cleaner and more aggressive maybe.”

Despite their pitfalls, several Lady Toppers reached new career marks over the weekend as well. Senior outside hitter Janee’ Diggins and sophomore middle hitter Noelle Langenkamp set career highs in kills against ULL, while two seniors, setter Melanie Stutsman and defensive specialist Ashley Potts, set career highs in assists and digs, respectively, in a winning effort against ULM Friday.

Another senior, outside hitter Paige Wessel, recorded 25 kills over the course of the two games giving her over 1,000 for her career.

Next up for the Lady Toppers will be two road games against Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas State this weekend.

“They’re both really hot,” Hudson said. “UALR is undefeated and has a kid that’s far and away the Player of the Year in the league (in outside hitter Edina Begic). Arkansas State put together a great weekend last weekend too. But that’s the state of the Sun Belt. It’s going to be a challenging weekend for sure.”

WKU and UALR (15-4, 7-0 SBC) will play Friday, at 7 p.m. The next day, the Lady Toppers will play ASU (9-12, 5-2 SBC) at 6 p.m.