Lady Toppers split second day of WKU Tournament

Junior outside hitter Paige Wessel, left, and sophomore middle hitter Heather Boyan, right,  failed to deflect Ohio State’s spike. Western Kentucky University Women’s Hilltopper volleyball team lost to the Ohio State University Buckeyes 1-3 at Diddle Arena on Saturday, September 28, 2012. 

Elliott Pratt

The Lady Toppers split day two of the WKU Tournament, dropping a 3-1 decision to Ohio State (17-25, 18-25, 25-21, 23-25) and sweeping IUPUI 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-13) in a doublehader on Saturday at Diddle Arena.

The Lady Buckeyes used their strong defensive presence at the net to limit WKU’s hitting percentage to  -.083, while accumulating five team blocks in an OSU 25-17 first set win.

OSU led 15-10 in the second set before two kills from Heather Boyan and one from Janee’ Diggins set up a 6-2 run to pull WKU within one point at 16-17. Four service errors from the Lady Toppers contributed to a 25-28 set loss, with Ohio State leading 2-0 at the half.

WKU had six service errors at the break. Senior Jordyn Skinner said the team struggled to execute the game plan.

“We were just trying to drive them deep,” Skinner said. “That was our goal. We shouldn’t have missed that many, but that’s just how it happened.”

Much like the previous night against Dayton, the Lady Toppers came out of halftime with redemption on their minds.

With the score tied at four, WKU put together a nice offensive display with two kills from Haley Bodway, and one from Boyan and Paige Wessel to give the Lady Toppers a 9-6 lead.

Four kills from four different Lady Toppers gave WKU a third set victory 25-21.

The Lady Toppers offense fired on all cylinders in the set, hitting at an average of .317 compared to their second set average of -.029.

Skinner fired up the offense with six kills 13 attempts.

The Lady Toppers rolled into the fourth set with the same momentum, capping off a 6-0 lead with a service ace from Sarah Rogers. 

A 7-2 run from OSU later in the set pulled the Lady Buckeyes within one before tying the score at 22. Three consecutive Ohio State scores sealed a 3-1 loss for the Lady Toppers, snapping their eight game win streak.

“That was some great college volleyball,” Coach Travis Hudson said. “They handled our team very well. Our kids are starting to develop a little bit of a ‘we can play with anybody and you’re going to have to beat us’ mindset.”

The Lady Toppers needed to get the bad taste of Ohio State out of their mouth and take care of business in the tournament finale versus IUPUI later in the night.

Skinner collected her third kill of the set early with the Lady Toppers up 6-2. 

Diggins contributed shortly after with two kills and a block to put WKU up 11-5.

Skinner and Wessel both concluded the first set with five kills to lead WKU to a 25-19 set victory.

IUPUI went on a 4-0 run early in the second set before an offensive surge from the Lady Toppers.

Two kills from Wessel, and one apiece from Skinner, Diggins and Boyan drove a 6-2 WKU run. 

The Lady Toppers capped the second set with two Boyan kills and a tapped kill from Melanie Stutsman to win 25-19, heading to the locker room with a 2-0 lead.

WKU led 19-12 late in the third set when the Lady Toppers rallied a 5-0 scoring spree. 

IUPUI would grab one more point before the Lady Toppers sealed the set 25-13 to sweep the Lady Jaguars 3-0.

Stutsman finished the game with 36 assists, eight digs, and seven kills on 13 attempts. 

Stutsman said the final match of the tournament would “define their season”.

“Ohio State and Dayton are really good teams no matter what, and we played well against them,” Stutsman said. “We had to prove that no matter what, we’re always going to come out and play, so that’s what we did.”

The Lady Toppers will have one more home game before next weekend’s tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

WKU hosts Lipscomb at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in Diddle Arena.