Lady Toppers drop first Sun Belt set but stay unbeaten

Elliott Pratt

As the regular season nears its end, the Lady Toppers consecutive-set winning streak came to an end.

WKU dropped its first set in over a month to Florida International Friday night in a 3-1 win.  

The 35-set streak stood alone as the longest in the nation before the Panthers won the extended second frame of the match 28-26.

Senior Jordyn Skinner and junior Melanie Stutsman both posted double-doubles on the night. Skinner threw down 16 kills and 17 digs while Stutsman notched 51 assists and 16 digs.

Coach Travis Hudson said that losing a set “certainly didn’t hurt anything.”

“In hindsight, it was good for us to see that we need to play well,” Hudson said. “We didn’t play well in that particular set and I told the team in the locker room to let it go and we got what we deserved.

“I think it was good for us to have to come back from that and write the ship and play well.”

Stutsman said the Panthers presented a tough challenge for WKU.

“It was a good challenge to see how we were going to react,” Stutsman said. “I think we handled it really well. We went out and played the way we play. We’re going to see that in the NCAA tournament, so it was good to go out and get that feeling.”

The following day in Boca Raton, the Lady Toppers handled business as five players hit over .400 and a strong defensive performance played a part in the sweep over Florida Atlantic.

Stutsman knocked down four kills on five attempts with no errors to end the day with a percentage at .800. She also collected five out of nine team blocks against the Owls.

The Lady Toppers will hit the road one last time Friday to Alabama to take on Troy at 7 pm and South Alabama Sunday at noon.