No. 24 Lady Toppers sweep Michigan Invitational

Elliott Pratt

The Lady Toppers are halfway through the regular season and will play one more non-conference game when they travel to Nashville to take on Belmont (4-9) at 6 p.m. Tuesday.  

No. 24 WKU (13-3) will then enter Sun Belt Conference play this weekend on fire after sweeping the Coke/Michigan Invitational over the weekend.

The Lady Toppers beat Duke 3-1, No. 22 Michigan 3-2, and Eastern Michigan 3-1.  

The Lady Toppers filled the stat sheet with double-digit performances in the tournament.  

“I think our performance in our home tournament made a huge difference in our tournament at Michigan,” coach Travis Hudson said. “I think our kids just had a different feel about them from a confidence standpoint.”

Jordyn Skinner earned a double-double in each game, including a 19-kill, 10-dig game against Michigan.

Melanie Stutsman added a double-double against Duke, getting 50 assists and 11 digs.

Skinner, who was named tournament MVP and Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week, praised Stutsman.

“Melanie did really well giving each of the hitters one-on-one situations,” Skinner said. “Our defense, Mel, and our hitters executed everything perfectly.”

With Duke leading the opening match 1-0 after taking the first set, the Lady Toppers used 14 team kills to defeat Duke in the second set 25-23, tying the score heading into halftime.

The Lady Toppers dominated the third set and took the fourth set to win the match.

WKU gave up the first set again later that night to Michigan. The Lady Toppers then put up 12 kills and four aces to take the second set 25-14.

After halftime, WKU and Michigan exchanged sets, leading to the first fifth set the Lady Toppers have played in this season.

Haley Bodway knocked down three consecutive kills to give WKU an early 5-3 lead.  A block from Heather Boyan and Paige Wessel gave the Lady Toppers a 15-11 final set win, and their second win of the season against a top 25 team.

Stutsman set up a season-high 54 assists.

After taking the first set versus Eastern Michigan 25-21, the Lady Toppers used 15 kills and four aces to control the set with a 25-11 win at the break.   

After losing the third set, an ace from Ashley Potts capped off the fourth set with a 25-15 win.

Potts finished the tournament with 64 digs and was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week.

“After we beat Dayton at home (on Sept. 7), we really started to believe in ourselves,” Potts said. “Coach Hudson made it a point to us to treat this tournament like the NCAA (Tournament).

“That was our mindset the whole time and we came out on top with a great feeling.”