WKU 6-0 in Sun Belt after 4-0 road trip

Redshirt junior outside hitter Paige Wessel kills the volleyball against Middle Tennessee. Wessel had 9 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

WKU coach Travis Hudson said last Tuesday that the Middle Tennessee State game was one of his poorer coaching performances.

WKU swept the rival Blue Raiders on the road anyway.

This Sunday at Louisiana-Monroe, Hudson said it may have been the Lady Toppers’ poorest performance all year.

WKU swept the Warhawks on the road anyway.

The No. 20 Lady Toppers (20-3, 6-0 Sun Belt) have the highest AVCA coach’s poll ranking in program history and have swept all six Sun Belt Conference opponents.   

In fact, the last time WKU lost a conference game was more than a year ago, on Oct. 4, 2011 in Diddle Arena against MTSU.

So if the Lady Toppers seem to be in a bit of a slump, the average fan doesn’t notice.

Now comes a part of the season that Hudson said he’s excited for.

“From here on out we have full weeks of practice,” Hudson said. “We’ve had mid-week matches and we’ve been on the road.  

“These next two weeks I think are critical to our team in terms of getting better.”

The Lady Toppers will set up shop in Diddle Arena for the next two weeks after four road wins.

WKU swept Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 28, MTSU last Tuesday, North Texas on Friday and ULM on Sunday, all on the road.

The road trip presented tough conference challenges, senior outside hitter Jordyn Skinner said.

“Once we got on the court, we just had to focus on beating them,” Skinner said. “I know we’re tired and I know we’re sore, but we said we needed to play now and focus. After the game we can complain about how tired and sore we are.”

Just like in the MTSU match, WKU found themselves in a hole in the beginning of sets one and three versus ULM.  

Sophomore middle hitter Heather Boyan echoed her coaches remarks saying the ULM match wasn’t one of their best performances of the year.

“We talk about coming out really strong in every match,” said Boyan, who had six kills on Sunday. “One of our biggest focuses is getting prepared especially in the first 10 points of every set.  

“We have to focus on what we’re doing by not giving up unearned points to the other team.”

Hudson said WKU’s slow starts have been because of the same reason for this 20-3 overall record.

“Confidence can be a good thing and a bad thing,” Hudson said. “We’re a very confident bunch, and I think that means sometimes we take the floor for that first point feeling like we’re going to win that game which is a good thing, but I think it has us a little unfocused at the beginning of games.

“That same confidence is what allows us to maintain our composure and the ability to make the plays we need.”

WKU seems primed to win two more matches this weekend, when the two teams at the bottom of the Sun Belt East Division walk into Diddle Arena.

The Lady Toppers will kick off Hilltopper Hysteria at 6 p.m. Friday against Florida International (5-13, 2-4 Sun Belt).

One day later they’ll meet Florida Atlantic (5-11, 1-5) at 2 p.m.