WKU Head Coach Hudson sees room for improvement

Freshman middle hitter Heather Boyan (3) celebrates a block with teammates that put WKU up 25-24 during a rally in the fourth game agsinst Ohio at the Kentucky Classic in Lexington.

Lucas Aulbach

LEXINGTON — After a 2-1 showing at the Kentucky Classic last weekend, the Lady Toppers have one final road match before playing at Diddle Arena for the first time this season.

WKU will head to Nashville tonight to take on Lipscomb — a team the Lady Toppers beat 3-0 last season.

Head Coach Travis Hudson said despite defeating Virginia Tech and Ohio pretty handily, much of the preparation this week will be on offense.

“We have got to get way better offensively — way better,” he said.

Junior outside hitter Jordyn Skinner said the Lady Toppers need to work on more than just their offense.

“We just need to work on our game,” she said. “We’re going to work on what we need to do to win.”

WKU lost to Kentucky on Friday night in straight sets but came back on Saturday to beat Virginia Tech and Ohio, bringing the Lady Toppers’ record to 5-1 on the year.

“UK was a disappointing loss,” Hudson said. “But for us to come back the next day and win really shows you something about this team.”

Hudson acknowledged before the weekend that the level of competition at the Kentucky Classic was going to be much higher than in the Lady Toppers’ opening weekend at the Belmont Classic, where they went 3-0. 

All three of Lady Toppers’ opponents made the NCAA tournament last season, with two of them advancing to the second round.

Sophomore defensive specialist Ashley Potts said she was impressed with the way the team rose to the challenge and improved.

“We knew all these teams are good, but we put ourselves in a position to win,” Potts said. “I saw a lot of progress (Saturday), especially in our serves. Serves are a big part of the game.”

Skinner was a big part of WKU’s offense over the weekend, recording 14 kills against Kentucky, 12 against Virginia Tech and 19 against Ohio. She was pleased with the way the Lady Toppers came back after their first loss.

“We struggled a little bit Friday night, but we were able to come back and get wins,” she said. “Coming back felt good.”

Hudson said he was impressed by the contributions of freshman middle hitter Heather Boyan. 

She had six blocks during the tightly-contested Ohio match, including one at the end of the final set to help clinch the victory.

“When we put Heather Boyan in the middle it gave our team a big lift,” he said. “Those six blocks were huge for us.”

After WKU played its first six matches on the road, Hudson said he can’t wait to be back home this weekend.

WKU will play host to a tournament that includes Xavier, Wake Forest and Louisiana State. 

Hudson said he’ll be happy to get back into a comfortable playing environment. The Lady Toppers are fresh off of a two-day, three-match weekend of competition in Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum gym, which has no air conditioner. 

“It’ll be good to be back home, and it’ll be good to be back in the air conditioning,” he said.