WKU returns to winning ways with 2-0 weekend

Senior middle hitter Tiffany Elmore blocks the spike of South Alabama’s Olivia Mohler during their match at Diddle Arena. WKU swept the match 3-0. 

Lucas Aulbach

After last Tuesday’s loss to Middle Tennessee State at home snapped their 14-match winning streak, the Lady Toppers were focused on regaining some of that momentum over the weekend.

Two sets into their match on Friday night, they were right back on track.

WKU (19-2, 6-1) held Troy to nine and 10 points in the first two sets of their game on Friday, eventually winning the match in three sets.

“We needed to play good in those first two sets because we wanted to show everyone that we could bounce back after a loss,” sophomore setter Melanie Stutsman said.

Stutsman led the Lady Toppers in most offensive categories against Troy, including kills, hitting percentage and assists. She was able to record a match-leading 11 kills and had no errors in the match.

“I knew I was a big factor in the game against Troy last season so I came in prepared to help any way I could,” Stutsman said. “The defense really stepped up and gave me a lot of opportunities.”

The Lady Toppers’ success continued into Saturday. They beat South Alabama in three sets to complete a 2-0 weekend.

Senior middle hitter Tiffany Elmore, who led the team in kills and hitting percentage on Saturday, said while the loss to MTSU was disappointing, the team understands that the season will go on.

“Once conference started, we all decided that it was going to be 16 individual matches,” she said. “That’s one loss we’ve had so far, and we can’t worry about it. We’re planning on playing as strong as we did in the beginning of the year for the rest of the year.”

Head Coach Travis Hudson, like Stutsman, was pleased the team showed they could recover after a loss.

“This was a nice, bounce-back kind of weekend after that tough loss to Middle,” he said. “We have exactly 10 matches left on our schedule. There’s a lot of volleyball to be played, and we’re at a point in our season where you need to start playing well and doing the little things all of the time.”

Hudson said one of the toughest matches left on the Lady Toppers’ schedule is their home match against Florida International at 6 p.m. Friday.
“FIU is a very talented, dangerous team,” Hudson said. “We’re going to have to be on our game all around on Friday night if we want to win.”
WKU has already played FIU (11-5, 3-2) once this season, earning a win in three sets in Miami on Sept. 30.
The Lady Toppers will also host Florida Atlantic at 2 p.m. Saturday — a team they swept in three sets on Oct. 1.
Stutsman said that a large home crowd would be a big advantage for WKU this weekend. 
WKU played in front of its largest home crowd of the year against MTSU last Tuesday with a total of 1,114 people in attendance.
“The crowd against Middle was great. We had over 1,000 people in Diddle,” Stutsman said. “We’d really like to do that again, but we’re definitely appreciative of any crowd that comes out.”