Rogers, Skinner to be honored Friday

Senior Jordyn Skinner and senior Sarah Rogers are preparing for there last home match of the regular season at Diddle Arena on Friday Nov. 09, 2012.

Elliott Pratt

When No. 18 WKU takes the court at 7 p.m. Friday against Middle Tennessee State, the night will be especially meaningful for seniors outside hitter Jordyn Skinner and defensive specialist Sarah Rogers.

Both ladies will be honored for their time with the Lady Toppers during senior night in front of fans, friends and families.

Coach Travis Hudson said he couldn’t ask for more from his two seniors.

“I can’t imagine wanting a whole lot more out of a couple of seniors that we’ve gotten out of these two,” Hudson said. “They both have come here and grown and gotten to experience a lot of success.”

For Skinner, of Grand Rapids, Mich., choosing WKU was a tougher decision than it was for many of her teammates that grew up closer to the school.

“It was a little hectic deciding whether I wanted to go to school far from home or if I wanted to stay close,” Skinner said. “Coming down here for the visit and seeing the atmosphere, the team, the coaches, I knew it was for me and it was perfect. I’ve had an awesome experience.”

Rogers, of Louisville, said she knew coming out of high school that there was something special about WKU.

“It just felt like the best place I could have possibly gone to,” Rogers said. “This season just put it all together for me with Jordyn and I going through everything these four years. Leaving on such an emotionally high note, I don’t think anything could go wrong.”

Skinner has definitely made her mark in WKU volleyball history.

The defending Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year leads the Lady Topper offense with 303 kills on the year with a hitting percentage at .236. She’s also third in the Sun Belt with 32 service aces.  

Filling in the shoes that Skinner will leave behind is going to be a tough challenge for Hudson and the Lady Toppers.

“She has done a lot of great things for us since she first stepped on campus,” Hudson said. “I don’t know that one person will come in and do everything that Jordyn Skinner does for us. It will have to be by committee, but I think the foundation is strong.”

Rogers hasn’t blown up the stat sheet in her WKU career to the extent of Skinner, but has been a key contributor during her senior year.

She follows Skinner in service aces, placing second on the team and sixth in the Sun Belt with 30.

She has held down the back row this year, scooping 191 digs, averaging nearly two per set.

Hudson praised Rogers’ work ethic and character as the perfect example of what he expects out his players.

“You have to have talent and character to win at a high level, and Sarah Rogers is the epitome of character and doing things at a high level,” Hudson said. “That’s a kid that has never gotten cheated in her career. Every day she enjoys it, she enjoys the experience, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The two seniors have helped lead WKU to become one of the premiere teams in the nation. Their freshmen year, MTSU knocked the Lady Toppers out of the Sun Belt tournament semifinals. The following two years, the team reached the first round of the NCAA tournament only to go no further.

This Lady Topper unit has reached new heights unlike any team before them, winning a school-record 20 straight games.

Rogers said this season should only provide motivation for future generations to take the program even further.

“Just knowing no one has reached the level that we have is awesome and something that we wanted to do,” Rogers said. “The girls below us will be expecting to repeat or do even better. That will just push the freshmen coming in next year replacing us to work that hard and get back to where we are now this season.”

Friday night will present emotions from all spectrums, but Skinner says at the end of the day, WKU still has a job to do.

“There are going to be emotions everywhere, whether it’s happy, sad or excited,” Skinner said. “It’s MTSU, so we’re going to be pumped up. It’s an awesome feeling knowing we’ll have the home crowd there and our families as well.”

Rogers said the best part for her will be having her whole family watch a WKU game for the first time.

“It’s going to be great having not only my WKU family, but my family back home, who has never seen a WKU game, will be coming down for senior night,” Rogers said. “It brings it all together and leaves that lasting impression that I hope to take forever.”