Lady Toppers sweep LMU for first NCAA Tournament win

Elliott Pratt

STANFORD, Calif. — WKU’s magical season will live another day.

The Lady Toppers made school history Friday by capturing their first ever NCAA Tournament win with a sweep over Loyola Marymount at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion (25-23, 25-19, 25-17).

WKU (33-3) advances to the second round to play No. 2 Stanford Saturday at 9 p.m. CT at the Maples Pavilion.

As the season has unfolded to be unlike any other in coach Travis Hudson’s 18-year career, the inaugural tournament win left him reminiscent of the building of the program.

“I’m just super, super proud of our kids and the consistency in which we played tonight,” Hudson said. “I’m a guy that took over this program and went 7-28 in my first year. It’s been a series of teams that came along and broke down doors and made other things possible for what WKU volleyball can be.”

LMU (18-13) kept the Lady Toppers on their toes for the first set.

Both teams battled back and forth for the majority of the first set, tying the score 11 times in the frame.

Jordyn Skinner kicked off what would be a stellar night with the first two kills in the match for the Lady Toppers.

Later in the set, Skinner recorded back-to-back solo blocks to give WKU its largest lead to that point in the set at 12-9.

The senior outside hitter went on to score the set point to give WKU a 25-23 first set win.

The Lady Toppers allowed the Lions to win the offensive battle with 16 kills in the first set versus WKU’s 14.

Hudson said the team’s slow start defensively has trended for much of the year.

“Loyola is a different team and they do some things like we do in that it takes a little while to adjust,” Hudson said. “I thought as the match wore on I thought we did a better job of catching up with the speed of what they did.”

The defense improved in the second set. Ashley Potts, who had just one dig in the first set, recorded seven in the second frame as the Lady Toppers took a 2-0 lead at the break after a 25-19 win.

The Lady Toppers came out of halftime with the energy that looked similar to their dominance in the Sun Belt Conference.

A Potts kill extended the Lady Topper lead to 7-3 in the third set. The WKU offense put up 18 kills in the set to lead to a team hitting percentage of .533.

WKU held a comfortable lead through the remainder of the set and cruised to a 25-17 victory. It was the Lady Toppers’ 25th straight win and their first ever NCAA Tournament victory.