WKU sweeps rival Blue Raiders

Sophomore middle hitter Heather Boyan gets a kill against Middle Tennessee. Boyan had 13 kills in the match. #20 WKU won 3-0 games against Middle Tennessee at the Alumni Memorial Gym in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Oct. 01, 2012.

Elliott Pratt

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The Lady Toppers grabbed their fourth straight Sun Belt Conference victory over rival Middle Tennessee State on Tuesday night by sweeping the Blue Raiders 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-19).

WKU saw an unfamiliar MTSU squad whom at one time had all freshmen on the court. 

The Blue Raiders are dealing with injuries from key players holding down the back row. Also, senior Ashley Adams, who was second on the team with kills, recently left the team.

For seniors Jordyn Skinner and Sarah Rogers, this win was more than just another Sun Belt win over their biggest rival.

“Sarah and I talked before the game about how this would be our last time playing here,” Skinner said. “We really want to leave a big mark on our last school we play at. Whether it’s home or away, this is always a big game we get pumped up for and play our best in.”

Getting a little too “pumped” may have been what hurt the Lady Toppers mentally, even with the sweep, coach Travis Hudson said.

“To be honest, we needed to just calm down a little and quit giving up unearned points,” Hudson said. “We really wanted to come out and play well because it’s our biggest rival. I don’t think it’s one of the cleaner matches we’ve played.”

Sophomore Heather Boyan said the team may have been a little “too excited.”

“We were just so excited to play them that we were a little on the edge,” Boyan said. “Last year was a really tough match so it was a great feeling to be able to come in here and beat them in three.”

Boyan led the Lady Toppers on the night with 13 kills on 23 attempts.  Skinner proceeded with 11 kills on the night.

The first set started with a back and forth battle until the Lady Toppers broke out a 6-0 scoring run to lead 13-5. Not long after, WKU found another streak of 6-0 later in the set, leading to an eventual 25-18 win.

The Lady Toppers got things rolling early by jumping out to a 3-0 lead.  From there on out, WKU never gave up the lead and led 2-0 at halftime with a 25-17 set win.

Coming out of the break, the two teams resembled much of the same play to begin the night, going back and forth in the third set until the Lady Toppers put together a 4-0 run to force a MTSU timeout.

The Blue Raiders pieced together a 8-2 run to pull within three points at the end of the match, but WKU would nail the coffin shut on this rivaled night with a 25-18 third set win, and their 12th shutout on the season.

Next up for WKU this weekend is a long Sun Belt road trip Friday to North Texas for a 7 p.m. match. WKU will fly out of the Lone Star State that night and head for Louisiana-Monroe for a game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“Once we get on the court we’ll be ready to play like always,” Skinner said. “We know we’ll be tired and sore, but we know we need to play now and focus.

“It’s all about playing our best in that moment we’re in. We can complain about how tired and sore we are after it’s all over on the way home.”