WKU entering Sun Belt play on 10-match winning streak

Lucas Aulbach

The Lady Toppers added three more wins last weekend to what has become a 10-game winning streak.

But Head Coach Travis Hudson wants his team, ranked No. 29 in the latest AVCA polls, to ignore its 13-1 start and look at a different record.

“We’re 0-0 in the Sun Belt,” Hudson said. “It’s time to switch gears. It’s time to focus on our conference schedule.”

The Lady Toppers won every match they played in Washington D.C., last weekend, beating the University of Missouri on Friday and American University and Villanova University on Saturday. They dropped just one set all weekend — the first set they played against Missouri on Friday.

The tournament was the last of the non-conference portion of WKU’s schedule outside of an Oct. 18 match at Cincinnati. The Lady Toppers begin league play against Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday.

Their play in Washington, D.C., last weekend featured some of the toughest competition the Lady Toppers had faced this season. Missouri came in ranked one spot behind WKU at No. 32.

Junior defensive specialist Kacy Moran said the Lady Toppers’ focus on fundamentals helped them win all three matches.

“All the teams we played were good,” Moran said. “We came in concentrating on getting stops, serving, blocking and defending, and we took off when it all came together.”

After a non-conference schedule that featured 10 top 80 teams from 2010, the level of competition for WKU should be lower in its Sun Belt schedule. No other team in the conference received votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 poll last week.

Junior outside hitter Paige Wessel said the Lady Toppers are well prepared after having already gotten several good wins before their Sun Belt stretch.

“We knew our schedule at the beginning of the year would be tough and it’s definitely exciting that we did as well as we did,” she said.

On top of that, WKU isn’t getting overconfident even after its results.

Wessel said the Lady Toppers will take their conference competition just as seriously as they’ve taken every other opponent this season.

“We prepare for every game and every night we’re ready to play, regardless of who we’re playing,” Wessel said. “Every game has been tough so far, and that’s not going to change. We’re seeing good competition every night.”

One perk of the conference season might be a more relaxed schedule. The Lady Toppers have played three matches every weekend of the season so far but will only play two on most weekends from now on.

Their conference opener will come on Friday when WKU hosts UALR.

Moran said the Lady Toppers are hoping to bring some of the momentum of their good start into their Sun Belt schedule.

“It’s really nice to be 13-1, but it’s also important for us to keep building up and winning games,” she said. “We’re all focused on improving every day.”

Hudson said he’s optimistic about where the Lady Toppers stand coming into conference play.

“If we continue to play well, we have a chance every night,” he said.